Rain in Varanasi


. . . . This is my Mom’s native place, and coincidently I choose the girl here, in order to get married to, from this place. My business is in Kanpur but it didn’t make me away from this ancient city.

. . . . Allahabad– my native place comes inbetween and I love to be there where I spent 25 years of my life. This article is all about Banaras, a city of temples. Only city to have innumerable temples is Varanasi. Out of which, Kashi Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan, Vishwanath Temple in Banaras Hindu University, Gyanvapi Mosque, Sarnath for Buddhists and, of course Ganga Ghats from Rajghat-to-Assi Ghats are major places for devotees and foreign tourists.

Varanasi is not a city that is
admired by many. Its many quirks only irks its citizens and visitors. And when it rains, even its ardent fans get annoyed.

We are only talking about the aftermath of a light rain, not a cloudburst or downpour. But even this dissolves the cover-up, exposing a scary image. First, there is no provision for water to drain, so every drop collects on the road side. This would have been okay if there was ever a proper road. But what we have is a terrain of potholes connected loosely by shoddy smatterings of tar.

The puddles in the potholes may even be picturesque, were it not for the omni present garbage. While we may have mastered the fine art of ignoring the sight and smell of dry trash, the aroma of marinated garbage that wafts through the damp air is hard to ignore or tolerate. The flotsam of assorted rubbish washed up from the shores of the street to the puddle in the middle of the road is not pretty either. We have moved from dirt roads to dirty roads, and can pass that off as progress.

The situation of ancient lanes, bylane and alloys, which is coated with thick layers, having cow dung, dirt, waste and rotten fruits, vegetable and Paan. With a minor introductory shower in July the layer dissolves and forms sticky, slipery and black mud, spread every inch of the way. Passerby’s trouser, shoes become an artist’s canvas. Two wheelers skid like hell, little mistake and you are in hospital.

If one is nonplussed, there is another strange phenomenon that is actually quite normal in Varanasi. When it rains from above, water from below starts to seep, just as the barking of one dog creates a howling contest. The black liquid that oozes out mixes with the muddy/dirty water creating a confluence of colour and flavour.

Varanasi is a tourist attraction. And, Ganga Ghats remain occupied by Desi and Videshi tourists. The rain water doesn’t move into the sever, but it flows on road and finally lost in Ganga through the stone-steps of a ghat. I don’t know whats the use of water treatment plant, if sevage water does not flow via sever lines.

May be seeing sewage is just a wage to pay for living in the city. So saying we may manage to overcome this also. But the next source of assault is mouth watering – at least to the assailant. Spit.

Imagine you are walking in the street after a drizzle. If you ask, why not walk on the footpath, I know that you have not been in Varanasi in the last decade. The walk ways have been abducted by shoppers, buried in ruins and lost for ever. So you are walking on the street and trying to find dry patches. There is none and you bravely decide to waddle in the puddle.

You lift your leg and get ready to plant it in water, no… wait…There is a ripple in the water. You have to swallow the truth that someone did not swallow their tongue lubricant.

Rain, refrain

The water starved city cannot sing ‘rain rain go away’. Nor are its citizens wishing to be singing in the rain, any more than they want to be basking in the sun. But can’t the city corporation help reduce the blah quotient ?

…shabab khan