I woke up to another rainy morning, actually pounding rain. The kind where you will get wet even with an umbrella and raincoat.
It was nature’s way of saying don’t rush anywhere, don’t get out because you want to get going. It’s better to just relax back and accept and take it in. And I did.
So till late afternoon I sat in the balcony with a book, my feet up and spent my day. There was the view of the mountains up there, beautiful dark skies as I looked up and lush greenery around me, what else did one want? This was such a luxury.
It reminded me of my mummy who would squeal with joy when it rained. She would make hot pakoras or popcorn and sit by the balcony with a book.
She would always tell me that nothing beats watching the rains, it was one of the most romantic moments. It has been years since I did any that of that.It also made me reflect.
I had a beautiful small garden back home which I nurtured like my children every day but I never would sit on that bench in the garden for more than 10-15 minutes.It was a lesson for me. I don’t need to always keep on seeking externally while all that was, was to seek internally.
My two dogs, my loved ones, a life and work that I loved and pursued with passion. There was so much to be thankful for. So much. I got more than I asked for.
Moments like these put you in perspective. That day at the balcony made me realize all this. Sitting in silence, in solitude watching the rain.
It was not a whole day wasted but a whole day enriched with just being there. I felt so calm.
Finally at 4 pm I got out to go to Har ki Pauri at Hardiwar for the Ganga Arati. Last time I couldn’t make it so this was the only day left to do it, tomorrow late night would be my train back to Delhi.
I walked till the bus stand near main market and got into one.When I reached Haridwar bus stand, the place was already chaotic and buzzing. Har ki Pauri was 2+ kms from there so I started walking towards it.
I was assailed by colors, people, scents and smells of different kinds of food, incense and everything else mixed into it. It was a sight for sore eyes.
India is so colorful that anyone can get pulled into it, an attraction, but only if one removed the ego out of their head and be more open towards it’s unpredictability.
Once I started reaching Har ki Pauri the crowd increased and it was only 5.30 pm! En route there was the famous Kulfi sellers (must have) each one claiming to be the authentic one, I went to one that had the most number of people (a hospitality trick I learnt) and got one and I was not disappointed as I slurped over it and continued my walk.
I didn’t have lunch so I stopped and had samosas and Lassi near Har ki Pauri. When I came towards the Ghats I was shocked with the number of people there.
There was this bridge leading to the Ghats. One could just stand there and gaze around or walk down towards the steps. Family members offering prayers to their beloved departed ones, taking dips in the river – young and old and generally crowded. It was blazing hot sun now and with the crowd getting larger I couldn’t take it, I just couldn’t.
It was 5.30 and the Ganga Arati would start at 6.30 pm and I knew I couldn’t wait that long. After a whole day of silence and solitude this was jarring my heart, the noise, the chaos, the pushing around everything was getting to me. So I walked back and took the bus back to Rishikesh.
The moment we were reaching Rishikesh my heart felt lighter, quieter, this felt home. As I got down I remembered there was another Ghat which I missed last time, Triveni Ghat which was close to the bus stand so why not go there?
I took a shared auto and got down at the Chowk and walked. I honestly felt better and better as I walked towards the Ghat. There were crowds but one could still find a space of their own here, could find their peace.
I sat on the steps nearby where the Puja was happening and gazed at Ganga.
All my tiredness went away, felt energy seeping inside me as I watched the twilight, the waters and the smell of Sambrani, Camphor and sandalwood hitting me.
Then I saw a beautiful ritual where the young priests stood in unison and held the lamps up towards the mother. My eyes filled with tears seeing that. Those lamps, Ma Ganga and the chanting, it was beyond words.
As I stood at the steps, feeling her touch, one of the priests came around with the Arati and applying Tika on devotees. I got it too and it felt so good I tell you..I walked around the ghats getting away from the crowd and enjoying every bit of the energy there.
It was a beautiful day and evening, seemingly uneventful but significant in so many ways…