Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
The awareness of having limited time makes one thrifty and efficient…so things one might otherwise put off, get done without any battles with one’s lazy self.
And so, knowing that we had exactly 2 days in Benaras, I pulled myself out of bed and to the terrace at 5.45 am to watch the sunrise.
And it was completely worth it.
There was freshness – with thoughts not yet muddled up in the matters of life. There was purity in the oneness with the vast nature that stretched out before me. There was serenity – a rare feeling!
And I just stood there and watched the city, the skies, the flooded ghats, examining life from every angle.
That’s when I noticed the boats below:
Some of the men had just woken up and others were still asleep.
Here was this man stilled curled up in his bed in a boat in the Ganga!
To him this mode of spending the night might be commonplace but to me this was spectacular and immediately got added to my bucket list.
And then I remembered…..
Several months ago, I met two traveling ladies in their 70s who had come over for a private viewing of the collection. They were originally from North America but considering the time they spent outside it, they could have been from anywhere. When I meet strangers that I might not possibly meet again, I try to seek out their essence in that brief meeting. And so I asked about their most interesting times in life.
And she narrated this:
In the late 19060s and early 1970s, the young of the world were flocking to India in search of themselves, when the hippie movement was in full swing and the Beatles and Hare Ram Hare Krishna had made India a popular destination for soul-seekers.
At that time this lady signed up for a boat adventure (a cruise would not be the right word) on the river. Ganga.
The journey would begin at Hrishikesh and end at Kolkatta.
AND it would be a row boat. A ROW BOAT!!
It would take 3 months to complete the journey.
The travelers would be protected from the sunshine by a canopy. And they would spend their time sitting on the boat – stopping at some of the cities on the way. At night, the boat would dock and a camp would be set up. Their support crew would travel by road along with their luggage to the next point and meet them every night. Every morning the camp would pack up after ablutions and again the travelers would make their way downstream along the river.
For 3 months!
I added this instantly to my Bucket List – B. List B is the one in which ALL serious desires go to first and then after some adaptations that make it to suitable to my particular life, get upgraded to List A.
And in the scene I saw that morning, I can see a good-enough adaptation – to go and spend a few days inside the lives of these boatmen rowing from maybe Allahabad to Benaras…. very do-able. Someday soon….
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