I have never felt so different and alone – and terribly out of place until now amidst the hue and cry of the Varanasi ghats. Yet amidst the confusion, I feel and breathe the poetry that walks in this place. It is almost like inspiration lurks in every corner.
I wrote these words while I was on a visit in Varanasi, the old city of Kashi sometime in late 2014. Because of my love for history and poetry, Varanasi was beautiful to me in the most chaotic way. I never quite understood the whispers of the wind there but then, the wind doesn’t whisper everywhere.
There are few places that reek of timelessness like Varanasi. In some ways, I felt I went back in time. Maybe, it was because I stayed at an ancient looking haveli that was a few hundred years old, in the heart of the old city five minutes away from the famous ghats. I hear there is a new city too but I never saw it and in my mind, Varanasi is the ghats, the sacred dirty water, the burning bodies by the side of the river, the uncountable sadhus, the pious devotees, the large wall paintings, the intricate sculpture, the long narrow lanes, the early morning boat rides and a generally grey sky.
I know that a city is seldom just what as it appears to the tourist’s eye. But somewhere, I find solace in the thought of a strange and jarring city that still breathes poetry, whose wind whispers complex mysteries and whose beauty is free-spirited, unconventional and all together strange.
P.S. : ‘Travel Throwbacks’ is a new series in which I will be making travel related blog posts. Each throwback will focus on a particular place or city which I have actually visited.