The House on the Hill – 1

I am sitting on the porch, the balcony which looks out over the valley, and the range of mountains which skirt it. Far to my left, deep down in the valley is the lake, the Naukuchiataal, the lake with nine corners. Its dark green waters gurgle from inside, raising small eddies in the water where…… Continue reading The House on the Hill – 1

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 – 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

Varanasi Again – 2: On the ghat

Ghats of Varanasi

It is dark, and deathly silent on the ghats where I stand. I can hear the gentle lapping of the waters of the ageless river that flows on the eastern bank of the immortal city. Her waters shimmer with the cold light of the celestial disc that lights up the sky, hiding the dark innards…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 2: On the ghat

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

The Reunion XXXV: The Ganga Aarti

By the time everyone finished lunch, it was already early dusk. The sun was nearly gone, and a cold darkness crept in from all sides, even like the fog that had congealed into a dense curtain over the warm waters of the Ganga. I pulled my cap tightly over my ears and made sure the…… Continue reading The Reunion XXXV: The Ganga Aarti

The Reunion XXXII: The Boat Ride on Ma Ganga

The next stop in our itinerary was Goleria Kothi, a heritage property on the ghats of the Ganga, where we would have our lunch and witness Ganga Aarti, a time-honored tradition of worshipping Mother Ganga every evening with fire lamps. It was a sort of fire worship offered to the deity by the priests on…… Continue reading The Reunion XXXII: The Boat Ride on Ma Ganga

The Reunion XXXI – The Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Gyanvapi

A lot had changed in the vicinity of the temple since we were here last. The temple area was being renovated, encroachments being demolished, and a pilgrimage corridor was being built for beautification of the Gyanvapi area. The area of construction, or rather demolition, had been cordoned off but it was still possible to peek…… Continue reading The Reunion XXXI – The Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Gyanvapi

The Reunion XXX – Visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple

And thus, the cars sped that morning once more, through the crowded and familiar streets of Varanasi. Crowded, but less crowded than we remembered them, and much cleaner. Familiar, but less familiar than before. It pained me to realize that I had started to forget the streets of Banaras and, if left alone, may not…… Continue reading The Reunion XXX – Visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Reunion XXIX – Jyotirlinga: The Pillar of Light

Next morning when we woke, I felt light-headed and happy. No, it wasn’t just the drink we had last night, it was something else. Yesterday, I had exorcised the ghosts of my past, made my peace with God, bowed my head in acceptance and vowed to start afresh. I could feel the bitterness of the…… Continue reading The Reunion XXIX – Jyotirlinga: The Pillar of Light

The Reunion XXIII: Dhanwantari Hostel-2

We moved along again, descending from the second floor, using the flight of stairs at the west end of the spine, and reached the ground floor. On the ground floor, we moved from the west end towards the middle of the hostel once more, headed for the mess hall now, and the adjoining canteen. Moving…… Continue reading The Reunion XXIII: Dhanwantari Hostel-2

The Reunion XVIII: Night at the Assi Ghat

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