Some of us boys stayed back at the club however, having sent our families to the hotel in different vehicles. The night was still young, and we wanted to make the maximum of it. We were in Banaras after such a long time that we wanted to drink in every moment, savor every second of…… Continue reading The Reunion XVIII: Night at the Assi Ghat
As the evening wore on, we noticed that Amita and Sridhar had taken charge of the sound system and were preparing to begin the performances for the night, mainly by the children. The chairs had been arranged neatly in rows in front of the backdrop, with an aisle in between, and most of the women…… Continue reading The Reunion XVII: Song and Dance
I have faint memories of the Banaras club, having attended a few parties there during my college time. That night, however, I could not recognize it. Maybe it had been too long, I thought, as I got down from the car inside the Banaras club. The banquet hall was on the first floor of a…… Continue reading The Reunion XVI: At the Banaras Club
Later, as we exited the temple, Appu and Sutanu pulled my leg that I had myself become adept at delivering sermons and that maybe I should consider a switch of professions. I took the friendly jibe as a compliment. Yes, I had lately become quite interested in religion and religious literature. For several years now…… Continue reading The Reunion XV: A Lunch Date
All the Shiva temples across India will have a small furrow like conduit cut out into the floor on one side, which serves to drain out the water or milk or other fluids which are used to wash the ‘lingam’; the ceremony being called ‘abhishek’ or anointing. This conduit runs from the base of the…… Continue reading The Reunion XIV: At the Vishwanath Temple
As the car sped past the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Performing Arts, I went back in time and could envision myself walking along on those roads in the evenings or driving by on Appu’s scooter and, later, on my own. I knew, the temple was coming up soon, I could see the…… Continue reading The Reunion XIII: Birla Temple
Later, as we collected our shoes from the shoe stall, Shubhi asked me, ‘Papa, do we have to pay the person who takes care of our shoes?’ ‘No beta,’ I said, ‘The service is free of cost and is rendered voluntarily by the people residing in the temple premises. But as a gesture of good…… Continue reading The Reunion XII: Inside BHU
The cavalcade moved on to the next destination on our itinerary – the Sankat Mochan temple. The temple is dedicated to the Vaanara deity or Monkey God from Ramayana, the immortal Hindu epic. He is popular across India as Hanuman or Maruti. His other, lesser known name is Sankat Mochan or ‘trouble shooter’, as Maruti…… Continue reading The Reunion XI: Sankat Mochan Temple
We passed Bhelupur and I recognized an old theatre which had now been converted into a shopping arcade. ‘Vijaya was the name,’ I thought. The car sped along the congested roads with the chaotic traffic which had always been so characteristic of Banaras. But no, there was a difference now. The roads were wider, well…… Continue reading The Reunion X: Durga Kund Temple
I woke up early next morning, and all of us got ready quickly. We were excited. Today we were going on a tour of the city temples. The temples which we had been visiting frequently all the time that we were in Banaras – Durga Kund, Sankat Mochan and VT, or Vishwanath Temple, otherwise known…… Continue reading The Reunion IX: 26th December 2019
The evening had turned to night now, cold and young. Liveried waiters moved around with delicious snacks and drinks. The women sat together on sofas around glass-topped tables and chatted. Children ran around the hall, not paying attention to the stares from concerned parents. We, the men, stood within serving distance of the bar and…… Continue reading The Reunion VIII: Dinner and drinks
Hotel Surya Kaiser Palace, the board announced the name as our destination came in sight after the bus turned into a side road. From the road, the hotel looked rather disappointing for we had seen some great pictures of the hotel on the internet and Avinash, our batchmate who had been doing all the local…… Continue reading The Reunion VII: Hotel Surya Kaiser Palace
The long corridor was dark at places and illuminated with naked tube lights at others. The floor was mosaic, sometimes Kota stone, and had been wiped clean with a disinfectant solution. A few cobwebs hung from the roof, in the corners, and the few shuttered window frames which lined the corridor. A strange smell, putrid…… Continue reading The Reunion VI: Varanasi, At last!
The bumpy ride and the horns blaring from all sides signaled that we were inside Jaunpur. Appu was constantly on the phone, talking to Teju and conveying the directions to our driver. Presently, the bus coughed to a stop by the side of a road with huge potholes. As I scanned the area from inside…… Continue reading The Reunion V: In Jaunpur
Couple of hours later, the sun was up and shining through the windows of the bus and the ambient temperature had climbed within the range of comfort. The cabin of the bus was cozy now, and filled with happiness and laughter, helped, no doubt, to some extent by the beer which we had opened up…… Continue reading The Reunion IV: On our way!
We filed out, wrapped and packed, lugging our luggage along. It was bitterly cold, and the sun was still not completely out. We stood there near the gate of our house, watching the Traveler sputter to a stop, as the driver, Pappu, opened his door and jumped out. A ‘gamcha’, or cotton towel, was wrapped…… Continue reading The Reunion III: The journey begins!