Varanasi Again – 15: A new Varanasi….

Ghats of Varanasi

Anything is possible provided there is public pressure, and political will. The Varanasi that we were entering was a classical example of this belief of mine. The road which were now driving on was six-laned, barricaded, with a divider in between and plantation all around. Intermittently we could see raised pedestrian bridges for people to…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 15: A new Varanasi….

Varanasi Again – 14: The road to Varanasi…

Ghats of Varanasi

There are several ways one could drive from Lucknow to Varanasi, if one wanted to. One way leads through Raebareli, a small town known more for its political affiliations than anything else, then through Kunda near Pratapgarh, known for its strong arm politicians, and finally skirts Mirzapur to reach Varanasi. Mirzapur city, and district, fall…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 14: The road to Varanasi…

Varanasi Again – 13: Out of the city….

Ghats of Varanasi

A thin veil of light fog hung over the road, not enough to impede visibility dangerously, just enough to make the morning beautiful, romantic, poetic. As one moved away from the road however, and into the shrubs or trees or the occasional woods that flanked the highway, the fog intensified, cloaking the flanks of the…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 13: Out of the city….

Varanasi Again – 12: On our way…

Ghats of Varanasi

Get up quickly, babies, I said, and get ready. We have a road trip ahead of us, I said, trying to rouse the sleepy girls. Road trip! They chirped, and quickly got out the bed to get ready. A flurry of activity followed as all of us got ready, finished the final packing, and descended…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 12: On our way…

Varanasi Again – 11: Getting up, getting ready

Ghats of Varanasi

I was shivering now, with the cold, and with the emotion that the dream had evoked in me. Hurriedly, I wore my sweater, and then wrapped a shawl around myself for good measure. It was, after all, December, and the peak of winters in the northern plains of India. My head covered in a cap,…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 11: Getting up, getting ready

Varanasi Again – 10: Tryst with Varanasi

Ghats of Varanasi

Maybe it was the upcoming journey to Varanasi, to Kashi, the city of light, and the city where I had spent a good part of my youth, that was the genesis of this dream. Most of the time people live in cities, but sometimes cities live in people as well. It was the same with…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 10: Tryst with Varanasi

Varanasi Again – 9: Waking up…

Ghats of Varanasi

I woke up, cold and drenched in sweat, my breathing heavy. It was the middle of the night. Besides me I could see the sleeping forms of Vaishali and the girls, the sheets covering them rising and falling rhythmically as they breathed, silently, peacefully. I looked out of the window and saw the morning star…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 9: Waking up…

Varanasi Again – 8: The well of light

Ghats of Varanasi

I got up and I followed him, the Yogi with the matted locks, and blue throat. I followed him wordlessly, for words were not needed now, had ceased to exist, have any meaning. The Yogi had awakened my third eye, the aagya chakra which makes sight without eyes, and hearing without ears possible. My forehead…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 8: The well of light

The House on the Hill – 2

If one drives around the Lake Bhimtaal, named after Bhima from Mahabharata, and crosses over to the other side so that the lake is on one’s right side, one can find, with some difficulty, the narrow road that leads up to Naukuchiataal, the nine-cornered lake nestled on the top of the verdant hills of Uttarakhand.…… Continue reading The House on the Hill – 2

Varanasi Again – 7: The Adi Yogi

Ghats of Varanasi

I looked at him wide-eyed, mouth open in wonder, unable to comprehend what he wanted me to do. There came a pause, a hiatus in time as I remained frozen, kneeling on the steps of the ghat, staring at the tall ascetic with the blue throat, and the Adi Yogi, the one with three eyes…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 7: The Adi Yogi

Varanasi Again – 6: Shivoham

Ghats of Varanasi

It IS Rudra….the Adi Yogi, a small voice whispered to me, but I did not believe it, not even when I saw his iridescent blue neck, and the fire of destruction glowing in his third eye. Suryashashankavahninayanam……. the voice inside my head intonated one of the many names of Shiva. Still I did not believe…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 6: Shivoham

Varanasi Again – 5: The blue throat

Ghats of Varanasi

Clang, came the sound as the trident hit the stone steps of the ghat. Clang! Issued the report, shattering the deathly silence of the night, reverberating across the ghat, and echoing over the dark waters of the Ganga. Clang, clang, clang, clang…..on and on, the sound of heavy metal against the aged stones of the…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 5: The blue throat

Varanasi Again – 4: The ascetic with the trident

Ghats of Varanasi

I stood still in the gathering dark, rooted to the spot, frozen immobile with anticipation, not batting an eyelid, and hardly breathing. I stood still, alone on the banks of the Ganga, at the Lalita ghat, watching the dark figure materialise from nowhere. It emerged from the shimmering waters of the river which flowed slowly,…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 4: The ascetic with the trident

Varanasi Again – 3: The axis mundi

Ghats of Varanasi

Varanasi – the piece of land between the rivers Varuna, and Assi, is the land chosen by the Mahadeva, the primordial ascetic Shankara, to be his abode. He resides here as Avimukteshvara, on the request of Martanda, the Sun God. It is through his inspiration that generations of pious travellers, pilgrims, scholars, kings, courtiers, sages,…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 3: The axis mundi

The Reunion XXXVI: The Story Continues

It has been a long time since I told this tale, or rather, continued it. The last blog in this series was written more than ten months ago. Why? Is the story over? Far from it. Then why? Maybe it is because I have said whatever I wanted to say, the pent-up emotions have been…… Continue reading The Reunion XXXVI: The Story Continues

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – IV

‘Spicy Tomato’, the pack of chips read, as I extracted a couple from the bag, put them in my mouth, and closed my eyes, enjoying the spicy crunchiness. The laptop lay open in front of me, the cursor blipped expectantly, the keyboard lighted, waiting…. I warmed my hands with the cup of tea which Vaishali…… Continue reading ‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – IV

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – III

The Naukuchiatal is a lake of nine corners nestled high up in the mountains. Our destination was further up from the lake, near the Club Mahindra Resort property of that area. The road is narrow, and paved with stones, and can be used by only one vehicle at a time. So, if one finds another…… Continue reading ‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – III

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – II

I inhaled deeply after a long time, as I saw that familiar sight, had my first glimpse of my friends – the mountains. There was a constricting feeling in my chest, a pang of emotion, a physical pain of happiness at the reunion, as I looked at them. Happiness can be painful, sometimes! The mountains…… Continue reading ‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – II

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – I

As the car turned the bend in the road, the dust settled, and the cacophony of the cities was suddenly left behind. Green trees, tall with age, and bent with the continuous suction generated by the passing vehicles, stood by the side of the road, and swayed, as if welcoming the travelers; their leaves forming…… Continue reading ‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – I

Sleep-Wake – 3

A feather flutters in the wind close to me, as I walk towards the well. It is white, and blue, and indigo, and iridescent blue. It is a peacock’s feather, shiny, magical, like the one which the dark-skinned God, Krishna wears in his hair. It flutters and shimmers and entices me. I run towards it…… Continue reading Sleep-Wake – 3