The River

Haridwar 5th July 2009 147 Part One: The First Look

A slight way off the road, in Rishikesh, a set of stairs ran down to a secluded Ghat, waiting for us like an old man waits for wanderers, hoping that they have a few moments to spare. We did have those few moments to spare, and so we stepped away from the planned route, and went down the ghat. She was there, at the bottom of those stairs; one look at her majestic charm, and I knew why people respected The Ganga, and loved her so.

As was customary at all ghats, a few steps separated us from the gushing river below. Each step I took, the river seemed to sigh back, as if nothing pleased her more than having me beside her – like old friends catching up after a long time.

My friends joined me; an old man sat and lit a beedi while observing us; my friends took about a zillion pictures of each other, of me, and of the river – but I was so mesmerized by the indefinable attraction the river held, that I failed to notice most of it.

The silt from the river had been deposited on the steps, and the places the river had visited were all marked out; like familiar footprints on wet sand.

Soon, it was time for us to leave for Harki Pauri, another ghat on the banks of the Ganges. I didn’t want to leave this new friend so soon, but as my old friend put it very rightly, the more time I spent there, the more I’d want to linger on.

With one final look at the river, we left, while the murmur of the river followed us. I wanted to return, and desperately cling on to a few more moments, and was looking for an excuse to run back. In a flash, I had the excuse. I wanted the name of the ghat we had visited, and since I didn’t remember it, I had to turn back.

Telling my friends to carry on (of course, with a bit of resistance from their side), I turned back and ran to the ghat. Down the steps, almost slipping, I dipped one hand quickly into the ice-cold water, and a smile escaped my lips.

In my haste, I had failed to notice the old man sitting there, still smoking his beedi. He was observing me, and had seen the smile on my face that reflected the strange calm spreading inside me. He took a long drag of the beedi, exhaled, and said, “Haan beta, ek ajeeb sa sukoon milta hai.”

P. S. The name of the ghat was Sri Vishwanath Ghat, and it had been inaugurated in August, 1947. I knew this all along.

Part Two: The Last Look

Haridwar 5th July 2009 176 Harki Pauri is one of the most famous ghats of Haridwar. Thousands throng this place daily, and during the peak hour of the Aarti, it becomes almost impossible to see anything but human figures all around.

It was at Harki Pauri that I met the Holy Ganga again. I knew I was in love the moment I saw the river. Little green leaf-baskets, each of them decorated with rose petals, marigold petals, a single lotus, and one diya, floated downstream, gently rocking along rhythmically, dancing to the waves caused by the river’s flow.

One step down, two steps down, and the water welcomed my toes. I groped around in the murky water, and with my friend’s help, finally managed to go down two steps, and was knee-deep in the water.My feet were numb with cold, my jeans were soaked with the river, and I was standing in a strong current, and yet I knew I never wanted to get out.

Nightfall was coming, and we had to make our way back to the hotel. By this time, it seemed every one of us had somehow been infused with that intoxicating something this river held in great quantities. As one, we all sat down on the stairs leading down to the ghat, to catch the last few glimpses of the river before we left.

Finally, we got up to leave. The narrow lanes back to the bridge leading to the auto stand allowed a few flashes of the river I’d begun to adore. Between the buildings, through cracks in the walls, I could see her flowing beyond. A few final steps over the bridge, and we had reached the rickshaw stand. It really was time to say goodbye.

As the rickshaw slowly navigated the streets of Haridwar, the night life on the banks of Ganga greeted us from afar. Soon, however, these few sights were all behind us, and I had already begun to miss her.

We came across a bridge, a surprise the little town had sprung up for me. The river gushed on from below, and even over the hubbub of traffic, and the crinkle of the rickshaw chain, I could hear the river whispering three magical words to me. “Come back soon.”

I know I will.

61 comments :: The River

  1. Me firshhhhttttttttttt !!!!!!!!! YAYIEEEEEE !!!!!!! :D

    You seem to have had such an AWESOME time!! Damn I'm jealous!! :(

    Never been too great a fan of the Ganges, but you definitely portray a nice picture.

    And uff!! The ending was masha-allah!! he he....typical you, hai na ?? :P

    Mainak takes good pics. Where are yours btw?

    And it's a pity that you didn't do the rafting. :P

    Loved reading this. :)


  2. oyeeee!!!! i was goin to be first!!! damn!! isha u beat me to it!!! hehehehe :P :D

    neway welcome backk!!! :) :) waiting for d pics. :)

    u inpired me to write abt my own trip, so im goin to do tht now.... :)

    As usual, ur writin was amazing, made me feel lik i was ryt there watching u n d river...

    n ur INSANELY thin!!! hehehe!!! put on some weight... ask me how, ill giv u free lessons. :P :D

    Annie. :)
    P.S: Yayyyyy ur back!!!! finally ill hav someone to chat to... lolz. :P

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  4. The trip began with us discussing why n how late w were, about a "certain" wierd person n his antics n i taking keen interest :P, ratul's hangover,me stopping u from almost diverting your mind towards chandni chowk, us wandering aimlessly at d kasmere gate metro station n d buss depot, leave in frustration of not gettin an A.C bus, finally in d trip mood:), taking countless pictures of each other n d view outide d window,i tellin u what 2 shoot(at times :P),THOSE IRRITATING N LOUD SONGS PLAYING IN D BUS throughout d journey :X,Meerut ka Mc Donalds :D, ur new friend in d bus,us entering haridwar n getting lost in d serenity of nature...the hills, d Ganges, d cold n calm water, d holy pure, a sense of spirituality in d air,...d temples, diyas, flowers,d ringing bells...that cleanses one's soul....we constantly embracing nature n tranquility.....a mode that we haven't been able 2 come out of till now....n perhaps never will....

    All i can and want 2 say is "Let's go back joyyyyyyyyyy"..... :)

  5. beautiful expression.. You could very well had been talking about a woman there. The holiday did you good i guess. :-)

  6. So you had a beautiful time out??? Super and your narration of your holiday is really really beautiful. It couldn't have been better than this Arnie :)

    Welcome Back!!!!!!!

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  8. @ bondgal... Congratulations on being the first one!! :D

    Yeah, I sure did have a great time there, the best bit, of course, being the Ganges. I wasn't a big fan either, but things do change quite fast... :)

    I know the ending was typical me... couldn't help it re, you know how I am na ;)

    My pics are on my laptop right now, I didn't really take that many pics of Haridwar. I'll put them up, but not right now. It might take a bit of time though...

    And yes, really sad that we didn't get to do rafting. I so wanted to!

    Glad you enjoyed reading it :) Cheers...

  9. @ Ice Maiden... Don't worry Annie, next time tu first ho jayegi re :)

    Pics might take a little time to be put up out here... thora sa wait karna padega.

    Waiting to read your bit about the trip you had... :)

    And dude, forget the writing... this is one place that you really should go visit. I never thought that I, being just how restless I am, could just sit somewhere so calmly and stare at the river, for so long! I surprised myself there... hehe

    Yeah, I know I'm thin. And also, I've tried everything... and trust me, everything... to gain a little weight. Now I'm just used to it :)


    P.S. Me happy to be back too, although one part of me still wants to go back to that ghat...

  10. @ Anupriya... The trip started out on a very different setting altogether. Never really seen Ratul drive the way he did that morning... man, it was scary! After that though, his hangover was damn funny... hehe.

    I wish we had gone to Chandni Chowk though. We did waste a lot of time sitting and doing nothing at Kashmere Gate... but still, no worries :)

    I dunno about you, but I still want to go back. I always used to say at the end of every trip that I want to stay on... this time, however, I really meant it. Had I been on my own, I don't think I'd have come back :)

  11. @ Niti... Well, once again, you're the only one (till now) to have spotted that fact there :) Honestly, where would my blog be without your comments?

    The holiday sure did wonders to me... I left feeling crappy, and I'm back all smiles :D hehe


  12. @ Sowmi... Yeah, had a brilliant time there. Never knew a river could be this beautiful... :)


  13. seems life is loving u////
    or probably vice versa

  14. @ dont ask my reason... I know the vice versa bit is true. I hope life loves me too in return :)


  15. Good Good ke umad pade hain jazbaat...

    Aur phir se aa gayi hai mujhko^*(&^(*&%^$%$#

    SUSU nahin

    Haridwaar ki yaad...

    Bahut achchhi pesh-kash

    I guess ki samajh aaye honge mere jazzy talks (Jazbaat)


  16. i know.. But damn thats a lot of pressure.. Now i ll always have to figure out the facts just right.. =)

  17. Beautifully narrated...!! I'm glad you enjoyed your holidays...! Loved your post..!!

  18. @ Swapnesh... Meri Hindi thori si kamzor hai, par phir bhi aapke jazzy talks aka Jazbaat samajh mein aa gaye. Thanks...

    Welcome to Technicolor Collage... have fun reading the things out here. Cheers...

  19. @ Niti... You don't have to work too hard at it, comes pretty naturally for u ;)

  20. @ Pavitra... Thanks a lot :) I needed a break too. Had a wonderful time there, so much so, that I literally didn't want to get up from the ghat and come back...


  21. Hey i just came back from a trip to the Himalayas myself .. am still putting up blog posts about it.
    Am glad you had a good time !

  22. hey.. i don't know what it is about rivers, but they are truly mesmerizing. It's as though you have some bygone relationship with them. ur post has well expressed it. My last post was also about a river. not sure if you read it, take a look if u get a chance. nice one here :)

  23. Hi Arnab
    My 1st visit here and I loved my stay.
    Your descriptions has made the holy river sound all the more beautiful and the way you have connected with her is very touching.
    Guess I'll have to be a regular visitor.
    keep writing
    take care

  24. @ Ruch... The Himalayas are just amazing. I so wish I could go back to that place again. On my list of places to visit right now are Gangotri, and Allahabad. I wish I can go there soon enough... :)


  25. @ aastha... Even I don't know what it is about rivers... especially this one. Never really experienced that particular feeling with any other river before...

    I don't think I've had the chance to read that post, haven't been keeping up to date with the blogging world these days. There are a lot of things that keep happening, been busy basically... :) Will catch up with them hopefully sometime soon... Cheers...

  26. @ Tickled Pink... Welcome to Technicolor Collage :) I hope you enjoy the older, and newer, posts out here :P

    I guess the reason why you found it so nice was the fact that I felt every word I said, while I was sitting there on that river bank. Never knew the Ganga had so much of attraction in her...

    Cheers, and keep visiting :)

  27. Yes Arnab it is indeed a very heartfelt post.
    visit my blog too.
    take care.

  28. @ Tickled Pink... :) I surely will do that... take care, and cya around...

  29. @Arnab

    Beautiful...I always luvd the way you narrate things..and this was awesome..completely..I felt like Im standing at the bank of Ganges and observing you ppl :)..seriously superb Arnab :)
    I hv never being 2 Ganges..but yes..someday I ll make it

    Anyways..wonderful yaar:)

  30. @ Satyu... Thanks :) Do go and see the Ganga sometime, it's one of the most beautiful rivers I've ever seen. You gotta see it's beauty to really believe it. I still want to catch one of the buses and go away there, for one more day...

  31. Itna kuch bolne aur sunne ke baad main kya bolu..?

    bas ek sawaal.. uss second photo mein tum ho kya? :-P

  32. @ Mahesh... Would have liked to know what you thought about this one... and yes, that's me just about to get knee deep in the water. This was at Harki Pauri, Haridwar.

  33. I am tempted to go there now... :)

    Hota hain.. kuch jagah itna sukoon milta hain...

  34. I know I'll have to go back there. Well, not necessarily Haridwar, but I'll have to go and see the Ganga again.

    And you're right. Woh aisi ek jagah thi, jahan pe itna sukoon milta hai. Bas yeh hai, ki maine expect nahi kara tha, tabhi aur bhi accha laga :)


  35. Kuch khao piyo yaar...kitne duble patle ho....u must 6ft +, am i right ?

  36. @ Mahesh... Hmm, now where have I heard that line?? :P Hehehe... I've been like this ever since I've been concious. That's one thing that somehow hasn't really changed for me, so I don't bother much about it anymore. I think the world worries about it enough already :P

    And no, I'm not 6 ft. Do I look that tall in the pic?? I'm 5'9", not that tall actually...

  37. This post itself is so beautiful, it makes me wanna actually go up there n see her....I was in Banaras years bk, when I was in the 7th grade....had a gala time bathing in the Ganges. Would love to relive all that again.
    Lucky you !

  38. @ Cinderella... Well then, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and go already! Trust me, it's worth a visit...

    I don't know why exactly, but right now I want to go to Gangotri and see the Bhagirathi. That would be the next trip for me ;)

    And yes, I know I was very lucky to have been able to go to a place like that. I hope I'll be that lucky soon enough one more time :P

    Cheers... :)

  39. Nice post. Keep up the good work.

  40. @ Gigi... Thanks a lot :)

  41. Hello! Dear,
    Your post is extremely nice . The serenity is reflecting in every word. I am of Varanasi & so I am aware of the feelings near the holy river Ganga. A spectacular post. I loved it & would love to read your other posts.

    Good Luck For next posts......

    Keep Smiling.......
    I would love to have your response on my blog, so DO VISIT......
    I'll be eagerly waiting for your comment.


  42. well..i read ur post but not completely..
    just wanna tell u tht i hv gvn some awards..
    do check my post..
    i m quite busy.these days....
    hope u wont mind..


  43. @ Manjari... You're damn lucky to be living in a city through which the Ganga flows. I'd love to visit Varanasi sometime, and see the famous ghats there... but that'd have to wait for a little while.

    Welcome to Technicolor Collage. Hope you enjoy reading the posts out here. Will go down to your blog once too... cya around, cheers...

  44. @ Pallav... It's alright man. I know what it's like being busy, so I can empathise there :P

    Thanks for the awards too, will check them out soon. Cheers...

  45. Is it? i thought tum easily 6 ft honge...chalo mujhse to nate ho :-P

    Kuch tips chahiye to call karo...:-P


  46. @ Mahesh... Well, to be honest... being the way I am has somewhat become my identity right now, so I'm completely ok with it :)

  47. i visited dis place 2 yrs ago....its awesome!!

  48. It really is beautiful... the soft gurgle of the water flowing, almost feels like it's telling you so many stories... one place I definitely want to go back to... :)

    Thanks for reading and commenting :D Cheers...

  49. Ok ok....bahut hoga ya formal hona...i was just kidding...

  50. As usual, ek dum badiya description :)

    Your writing is beautiful just beautiful :)

    Have a great weekend :)


  51. @ Mahesh... I know man.

  52. @ Miss Kido... Thanks a lot. And yes, I really do hope I have a good weekend. College starts from Monday, so no more happy and free weekends after that... sigh.... :P

  53. very nice arnab .... khub shundor bhabe lekha .. beautifully described

  54. as usual well written!! loved it... strangely your post reminds me of lesser spots like a rocky bank on the teesta in sikkim, or nice lil boat ride on the hughli with the feet dipped in the river, or maybe the banks of beas... somehow they all have had a calming effect on me, and I still go back to them. in fat, before leaving for masters, i did visit sikkim and sat on the river bank for sometime, before i had to leave for an unknown future.

  55. @ Sumit... Thanks a lot. I know what you mean about the river. Felt it first hand, for the first time sitting out there. I'm going back to meet that river sometime, hopefully soon...

    Cheers man...

  56. Arnab,

    Here I am keeping my promise of visiting you. I feel so sad that I missed so much for so long. Read all available posts. You write well. Hope you are planning to have collection of short stories published. I really look forward to that. Each had it's own unique theme. Keep writing.

    Take care

  57. Missing the fiction but enthralled by the non fiction :D

  58. Hey Arnab
    I read the post "And she said, I am all yours" and I am amazed at the way you have so dexterously presented the issue of drugs.

    At the beginning I thought it to be a love story as I guess you intended it to look like but when I read the last para I was surprised.

    Very Very nice.

    You have depicted something common in a very uncommon way.

    Hats off to your creativity Arnab.
    take care.

  59. @ Jack... Thanks for the wonderful comment. I don't know if I'll be able to keep posting stuff here that often here nowadays or not... depends on quite a few things. Do drop by in case I write something though...

    Cheers :)

  60. @ Ki... Thanks :) Sorry I've not been able to write stuff recently, I think it's gonna take some time for the next post to come by. Hope you don't mind that... Cheers...

  61. @ Tickled Pink... Thanks a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed that story... Cheers...