Well another day in Varanasi and another day of sights, sounds and smells! We spent the day walking along the Ghats watching people bathe and wash their clothes, in the distance we saw more burnings at a different burning Ghat. While everything is surreal one thing that stood out today as we looked on was huge amounts of young children and men playing cricket along the Ganges. using bricks and sticks as stumps while about 100mts further on people were been brought for burning. What I have really thought about since my experience at the main burning Ghat the previous evening is how much the western world has sanitized death while here in India through custom and religion there is great celebration of life and amazing ritual that is followed, it has certainly given me lots of food for thought about how we do death! Of course this is not to suggest that all is perfect, there is much chaos and certain rules and financial factors that exclude some and make participation in such a ritual impossible. Anyhow the other thing happening along the Ghats at quite a rate is weddings, couple after couple rocking up for their ceremonies and some looking no older than 10 – that is a bit of an exaggeration but I’m sure you get the picture!
I reckon the highlight of today had to be wandering through the Galis, the small alleyways off the main streets. These tiny alley are no more than a couple of feet wide and crammed full of tea houses, shops, guest houses and stalls and once you are deep in the heart they are full of homes. They are quite smelly and dirty but at the same time quite enchanting. But on the other hand that pretty much sums up Varanasi, particularly around the Ghat area. We visited a place called the Brown Bread Bakery it is run by learn to live which provides an empowerment program for women and school for children, the women make the jams, pickles, museli and bread. It was such a quirky grungy little place with real character, we sat on the little (and I mean little) deck out the front, watching the monkey’s clamor about outside and then out of the corner of my eye there was a little mouse wandering around, but this is India.
The time we have left is pretty much to pack and get sorted for the long time we have in transit tomorrow, taxi pick up by lunch, then 30 min mad drive to the airport to fly back into Delhi, then about a 6 hour wait for our 5.5hr flight to Singapore followed by 2.5hr transit and 7.5hrs to Brisvagas to see our beautiful girls! But to conclude it is with sadness that we leave India once more, until next time! When I get home I will put together some travel tips and a personal reflection so if you’re interested watch this space!
One final point, a great highlight of this whole trip has been speaking to others who are on a journey around India, some for 2 weeks others for months, it’s been great to share the struggles and the highlights, to hear of the capers that others have had to endure and to share ours. The western world, I believe, has become so individualistic that we often keep ourselves to ourselves, whereas when we share we have the opportunity to enrich each others lives and leave imprints that will never be forgotten, so to all who we have shared this time with, thank you!