Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Singing Boatman and Other Stories

Close your eyes and whirl around till your head sings. Then jump into a giant kaleidoscope with a thousand rickshaw horns sounding in the background. That is the kind of effect Benares always has on me.

There are a great many stories I could tell you from my Benares trip. Being turned away at half a dozen hotels because none of us were carrying ID cards. Schnitzel, cheese fondue, gorgonzola and baguettes, served by a Nepali waiter in a restaurant jointly owned by an Indian and a German. Walking on bridge railings on NH-5A so as not to get in the way of trucks (but mostly for fun). Hitch-hiking in a dust storm. Lying on a boat at night and whistling at the stars. Stories from the seamier side of Benares: pimps, drug dealers and sadhus who eat the flesh of corpses. A murder. A city in unstable equilibrium.

There are a great many wonderful things I could try to describe. Goats clashing horns and wrestlers locking arms on the ghats. Friendly hippies and irate sadhus. The slippery skill of the cyclists on Dashashwamedh Ghat Road. Lotus flower lamps adrift on the river. The eternal cycle of life and death. Sunrise. Sunset. A singing boatman.

There is much that I could write about my Benares trip. But because Benares is sensory overload of the most potent kind, it will be days before I can think coherently, leave alone write. So I adopt the last recourse of the incompetent blogger: I leave you with pictures.

River

Ghats

City

Six of the pictures here were taken by Bunty. If you wish – just to amuse yourself – you can try to identify them. (Hint: Try picking the worst six.)

12 comments:

Rick said...

And Sir, the photographs have quite a story to tell. Just amazing!

I envy your trips! They are just too "sensory overload of the most potent kind"!

You awake the old travelers spirit in me. I'll answer the call of Benares call ASAP.

Rick said...

*omit the "call" which decided to make a second appearance.

Pratiti said...

Haha, Buntydada tomaye marey na keno?? And I can never beat Rick to the first comment. SUCH a big fan of yours, Rick, really!
WV: shuwor

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Shuwor!! Hahahaha!

Love the pics. A murder?! Flesh-eating shadhus?! Baapre. Can't wait for your coherence to make its way back and elaborate on the one-liners:D

And I agree with Rick. I evny your trips. Huccum so much happens to you??!!!!

Rick said...

Fan is not the exact word, I believe. I would say that I take an active interest in what Sroyon da has to say about the world.

And, as for me commenting first, well, I really cannot help it if my blog-roll is more efficient than yours. Moreover, i also have a strong affinity for clean comment pages to comment on. Hence.

Priyanka said...

I've always loved these collages that you keep putting up after trips. Perish the thoughts of incompetency. =)

Also, I love the picture in the City set of the cow. That's a very strange angle. Also the monkey. Ok I'll stop now.

Indecision Personified said...

You write well even when incoherent. :-) Have never been to Benaras - have heard way too much about it to go on ignoring making that much planned trip.

WV: pultu - hah!!

Debi said...

hatsoff!! an excellent assortment of a random emotions....

a murder, pimps , drug dealers , corpse eating sadhus? guess they deserve more than just a one-line mention.

new age scheherazade said...

I like anything that likes what my father likes, because he's wise and all-knowing as hell, and he loves Benaras, and so I love this post. I also love it because you give us a hint of what you could say without actually saying it. Very effective. Hitchcock would be proud. Also, a murder?

And spare Pinka now: even xkcd thinks you're OCD. When's your birthday? I need to send you a card in a certain font.

Sroyon said...

@scheherazade: You don't scare me. I *twitch* kinda *twitch* like Papyrus.

Fan of Small Wonder said...

u bastard!

Rahul Saha said...

Pimps, murders and flesh eating sadhus - sometimes I think your life is lived in your head more than anywhere else.