The crescendo of the cacophony had reached its zenith. My naked soles were desperately
trying to find a way back but the sea of human wave pushed me deeper into the noise.I
cursed my folly to attend the ritual that the city is so famous for I had decided to skip
this religious place from the itinerary. But it seems that Destiny tweaked my my well
planned schedule to hold me captive in this suffocating place.
The spool of memory re-winded back to the many decades as my raconteur dadi ( paternal
grandmother) whipped up images of 'Maharati' on the banks of River Ganga. The citadel of
holiness and the cleansing of the soul was not just by the dip in the waters but by emptying
of the garbage of human mind that made the city holier. Every human in her /his
lifetime should visit Kashi , said Dadi.
I gulped a volley of air into my nostrils and gently breathed out. The repetition helped
me and the tightness in my chest eased out. I opened eyes my eyes to the luminescence
of the 'arti' conducted. The invoking of Mother Ganga spread through my senses as a
capillary network and the resultant effect was calming. Involuntarily my hands folded in
obeisance and reverence to the holy River . A mendicant smeared his forehead with ash
sermon-ed ," release your hate, anger , jealousy into the womb of the Mother. She
accepts all oblations and purifies the body and soul". My body shivered.
The years of dominance had lashed mental scars. The volley of vituperate outbursts had
reduced my soul to nought. I lost faith in goodness and thus took refuge in being an
atheist. Timely intervention extricated me from jaws of suicide. "Count your blessings ",
implored Amma. I had obstinately refused.
The accumulation of the emotions had turned me hard like the sediment. The water of
happiness had no space to flow. Why was I punishing myself? Should I jettison to make
way for peace and joy?. My bare feet descended down the steps of the Ghat. With each
step down, my spirit rose and soared. The weightlessness was filling with joy. My bare
feet touched the coolness. The liquidity of the Ganges had managed to penetrate the
The holy water was sipped by my Amma in her dying moments from the bronze urn..
She quenched her thirst and peacefully reached the abode of her Creator. Her face
exuded peace and calm.
Though jostling for space I had enough room. I lit a diya and gingerly floated it into the
current of the swirling waters. My little lamp joined the umpteen floating flames and
merged . I had forgiven him. The grudges , anger and anguish lay reposed on the
riverbed. My heart was kindled with the warmth of the diyas.
I would die a satisfied soul and will live a life of fulfillment.
I turned my back and faced the the ocean of faith. Each face told her own silent story of
emancipation. I ascended the steps. The ocean made way for me. I looked up. Dadi was
showering her blessings on me.
'I'm Writing Bravely for the Write Tribe Festival of Words March- 2019