It’s tacky and filthy. It’s older than the oldest. It’s proclivity towards religion will take you into trance. You may ignore it but cannot hate it. It’s Varanasi. The land of Ganga, the land of Moksha, the land of Aghoris, the land of Myths, the land where every religion blends with the other, the land of legends like Kabir, Tulsidas and Dr. Ustad Bismillah Khan.
I went on a whim and returned mesmerized. It all started a week before Diwali. I wanted to be alone this Diwali but not in my own city. And boy, my fingers were already dancing on the keyboard searching for destinations for a short and quick vacation.
Post lunch– My message read – “Where to stay in Varanasi? Shoestring budget.” He replied in a snap – “Zostel”
Without any second thoughts, I booked myself for 3 nights at Zostel. Thank God! I was finally escaping “somewhere” during this last extended weekend of the year.
Evening 7:00 PM– Dad called- “Why don’t you come over for Diwali? You got 4 days holiday.” I very well knew my reply would make mom jump out of her seat and pounce on the phone (I am always on speaker phone during the ritual calls from dad). Mom- “Kashi? Alone? Why on earth did you decide to go to Kashi? That too alone. It is definitely not the safest place to roam around on your own.”
I decided not to argue with mom on this topic. It has always been a never ending argument when it comes to my travel and treks. I simply agreed to her condition to call and update her about my whereabouts while I was there.
Little did I know that by the end of the holiday, I would come back with smiling memories stacked in my backpack and richer by couple of more friends.
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