Child of Ganga

Benaras

Posted in Uncategorized by Nadia Kamil on November 20, 2008

I cannot begin to describe what Varanasi — or Benaras, as the locals call it — is like. My apartment is in a pretty residential area, I open my window and am staring straight into the room of guy in the next building, so close are we that I could probably call out to him in a whisper.

Nandan, who owns this building, fetches me from the airport after waiting almost 5 hours (flight delay). We take an auto-rickshaw back to the old city and he fills me in on little snippets of life in Benaras. He is a wonderful conversationalist and I am glad for that. He brings me up to the open rooftop, where I see children all over, flying paper kites from their own rooftops. The kite-flying festival is coming soon and the sky is dotted with colourful squares.

We take a walk to the Ganges river in the evening and sit on the steps of the Assi ghat till it turns dark. The river is shrouded in thick mist and in the distance you can just make out outlines of boats floating lazily by. I am so struck by the beauty that for a moment it is possible to forget the beggars and the grime and the sewage spilling openly into the sacred waters. Nandan tells me strange and interesting things about Benaras; the life of the sadhus, the aghoris’ philosophy, the caste system, cremation rites, the sewage system… everything about Benaras is like a delicate secret, just how much is she willing to reveal?

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4 Responses

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  1. mimimama said, on November 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Omg auntie. Take heart! At least you’re sleeping on a queen sized bed! And it’s looks quite clean. Or at least it sounds better than the motel you were putting up with. And just draw the curtains to cover the window. If no curtains, then just use a towel and drape over or something, at least u get some privacy. And auntie! Keep your things properly! I dun think the lock there is safe enough to secure all your things! what if someone breaks in and steal your camera?! OMG.

    Okay, obviously we dun need to email cos i am typing everything here already. HAha.

    Looking forward to your next update! :)

  2. kai said, on November 20, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    nadia, drink plenty of water, bottled water. and wrap yourself up at night…it should be getting chilly there. i know your inbox must be flooded with mails so no need to reply mine. just keep updating this page.

    miss you

  3. Hee-haw said, on November 20, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Princess! OMG! You are so close to “sluthinatan”? Hahahhaa.. Don’t go and peep ppl ya! Hahhaa..

    I can imagine how the kites decorates the sky! Must be very nice! You must take some photos of that to show me ya! So enjoy ya!

    And you looks like enjoy too much there hor? Forgot about SHOOTING rite?! How can you enjoy urself without your pet?!! Hahahaha… It’s alright! Everyone here haven’t start also! Hahaha.. That’s it la~

    I’m looking forward to your every post! Remember to update me frequently ok? Jia you my ultimate best master a.k.a princess nady a.k.a shocking beast a.k.a Sluthina! :D

  4. regina said, on November 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Looks like you’ve got a good landlord! xD


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