Train to Banaras

I came here on a train that could not contain us. The aisle of which was witness to a lot many card games. The seats of which trembled at the sights of us gushing in during the night. The handrails of which that I grabbed on to with my sweaty palms as I stepped out.

There is something in the air of Banaras, it is salt mostly but there is a strange sweetness begging for acknowledgement. The beggars snore on the footpaths as if they have been here for more than one lifetime. There is no plan; no intellectual thought flooding into my mind, the people are walking as if they have no hurry of getting somewhere, or anywhere! Dirty trucks hold too many people, taxis hail through the streets like chariots into a battleship, I wonder if they are going towards Kurukshetra, I wonder if Lord Krishna is still leading.

One could almost taste the tea spice in the air of the lane-corners, where short men chew betel and the old wives fan the roasted corn sitting on bricks in the steamy August. I let a frail man pedal me on his bicycle rickshaw towards the Munshi Ghat. I am here to learn something. I wonder if I could ever master the art of crossing the streets in India.

The Ghat boasts of ancient stories, whoever named it after Munshi Premchand was a genius to be sure. The water is quiet but the place is not. The wind whispers through my hair gently like an old lover, I never knew solace you could be found in a place full of so many people. The architecture stands steadily like an old tale smiling in nostalgia. There are too many monkeys, not the most extraordinary fact but quite intriguing!

The river is bold enough to swallow the sun as the orange in the sky turns darker, I wonder if there is Henna in the clouds. I sit on the steps as the river glows in her dusky beauty. Too many souls trying to wash away their sins. I think of stepping into a boat but sit there in silence instead, watching it leave. There are innumerable metaphors in the water and the flecks of stars try hard to make us notice their existence. At a distance I see a Sadhu draped in Ochre robe chanting something auspicious as he dips his mud-coated, rope-like hair in the holy Ganga multiple times.

Peace of mind could be reached. All we need is to take a train that could not contain us.Uttar-Pradesh_Varanasi_Munshi-Ghat-at-Varanasi


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