Varanasi Again – 40: Lalita Ghat

The boat rocked gently as we stepped off from it, on to a floating platform built of interlocking plastic buoys. The plastic platform too jiggled a little, and looked like it would give way and drop us into the water, but then held on. More and more people disembarked from the boat on to the platform, but it still held, still kept floating. Slowly, everyone started walking away from the boat towards the ramp like area, still under construction, which led to the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor Project. KG pointed out the way, shouting above the racket that the children created, to make himself heard.

He waved his hands in the air, pointing towards a gate like structure and the still unfinished path that lead up to it, and shouted, ‘This way, this way’.

Everyone looked in his direction, and nodded together, and then followed him up the slope of the river bank. I held on to the girls tightly. What with the floating platform made of plastic, Lego like interlocking buoys, and the unpaved path which lead up to the half-finished stone steps, and the still under construction gate of the shrine; there was scope for a lot of things to go wrong, and I did not want any trouble at this point of time. I held their hands tightly, and guided them along the almost treacherous path.

We ascended the earthen path that led us up to the under-construction stone steps, and then through the unfinished doorway, into a huge open area which seemed like a foyer or a concourse leading up to the main entrance of the renovated shrine. As I ascended the steps, I could not help but look at the ghat to my left – the Lalita ghat, with its two turret like towers and the stone steps leading from the river to the temples.

This was the ghat I had dreamt about last night, where I had seen the tall and fair ascetic, the one with the blue throat, and the matted locks, and the third eye in his forehead which had glowed red. He had ascended the stone steps of the ghat, in my dream, with his trident in his hand, his body smeared with ash, and had touch my forehead, my agya chakra, the node of all consciousness, and had awakened the sublime in me, had opened the ‘third eye’.

The memory of the dream was still fresh, the dream felt so real that I thought, looking at the ghat, that it had really happened. Had it not? Maybe. Who knows. Maybe in a parallel universe it did happen. And the memory of it, the experience of it, had floated across the chasm of time and space, and had kindled my senses, making me feel as if it was a dream. May in some world, the naked ascetic did lead me up those steps, and into the ancient shrine, where we had sought out that well…..the well of knowledge…..the gyanvapi kupa.

To be continued………..

Check out these Amazon Bestsellers from the author –

The Battle of Panchavati and Other Stories from Indian Scriptures
Daffodils: A Bouquet of Short Stories

By Divya Narain

Additional Professor in Plastic Surgery, doting father, loving husband, newbie author. Love travel and literature. Love reading religion, politics and history!

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