Poem – At The River Ganges


First published in Learning & Creativity magazine in August 2015.

 

Time stands still on the stone steps by the river;
a silhouette takes a dip and emerges from its waters,
hands folded in obeisance to the rising sun.
A moment of transition from mundane to divine.
A marigold garland drifts by with ash in a plastic bag.

With a conch’s cry, the temple city quivers to life,
a flower boy approaches and with him a frail form
in white, a prayer basket trembling in her hands.
Oblivious, she faces the river, chants mantras,
lights the flower lamp and sets it afloat.

A song comes as a boatman begins his day.
The sun rises from the saffron tinted waters,
lifting the veil from Shiva’s abode. The air thickens
with smoke from funeral pyres and cooking fires,
the skyline of soot-darkened temples their backdrop.

In the sacred city of Varanasi a union of opposites—
suffering and liberty, birth and death, sacred rituals
and the unfolding of daily life. I walk the ghats,
that are alive with rhythmic sounds of cleansing
as washer men thrash laundry against stone slabs.

A holy man—his body smeared with ash—
lifts his hands above his head in prayer,
another, with Shiva-like dreadlocks,
sits in deep meditation at the sunken temple.
The air echoes with the clamour of temple bells.

Pigeons take flight. I sit beneath a canopy
and watch the river of life gasp for breath
at the confluence of the city of light and death.

Photo Theme For Thursday : Peaceful


The theme this time for the Thursday Challenge is “PEACEFUL” (Relaxing, Harmonious, Friendly, Serene, Mild Weather, Calm Water,…)

Nothing could be more calmer and peaceful than sitting at the banks of the river Ganges and watch the sunrise. The boats patiently wait for the early morning worshipers and tourists.

Many people rise as early as four in the morning to come and sit at the ghats to become one with the serene river.

Banaras visit is incomplete without connecting with the soul of Ganga.

Deliverance: A Poem


The little boy stands alone

On the banks of the Ganges

His head shaved clean

Like the white sky above

Moist eyes filled with anticipation

Look around at trees and parapets

Three mounds of rice lie on a leaf

Waiting for a crow’s touch

for deliverance of his father’s soul

Note: (One of the most important religious rituals after cremation in Hindus is, to do “Pind Dan” (offerings to the crow to help the soul attain salvation after cremation of the body. The crow is considered auspicious. The ritual is performed by the son.)