Leftover Varanasi

5 February 2013

The whole Hindu thing was a big of an overload after even just a couple of days, so we went to the Muslim quarter of town. The same size streets you can walk through freely without fear that you’re going to put a foot (or both, if your name starts with an O), into a big pile of warm cow shit. Overall the experience just turned depressing when we went into a cotton and silk-weaving ‘factory’ spread out among a few houses. Inside, archaic machines chugged away at a deafening volume. Behind it all was a little Indian pushing levers back and forth. They were just really part of the machines; wedged between metal bars and the concrete wall.

We retreated back to the Hindu parts by boat. I tried to get us on one boat with Indians, but the boat people didn’t like it at all. So we walked down and they watched me just talk to another group of Indians and hop on another group’s boat.

After four days on the train, these friends had arrived in Varanasi from Chennai for a holiday. They found us very nice to want to join them on their boat and told us proudly of their sons’ work.

That evening, all the gang was smiling like Federico–always.

Fin: law student from Adelaide. Secret little artist.

We ate in the restaurant together and left, keeping our heads low so as to not hit them on the roof. My throat still felt a bit funny from the smoke as we waddled down the stairs. Not cigarette smoke though; a truck crawled along the street and had thick white smoke pouring out of it as we were enjoying our thalis. Within five seconds the people ten metres away disappeared, and five later the smoke was deep in my lungs.

Some went back to hostel, some went to see the festival down by the river and were eaten alive by hopefully non-malarial mosquitoes. Others we met later at a rooftop cafĂ© where we drank warm flat cider out of kettles. Some went back to the hostel again, some went back to the festival. Sometimes you travel alone, and it’s rotten business. Always when you travel alone, things will come together perfectly at some point. You keep being yourself just the same regardless. So you would be silly to think that being alone has anything to do with great things happening in return for wading through shit. But you wade through even dumber shit at home, so you would be outright stupid to not wish that being home could be so great. Who’s complaining and spouting out useless stuff? Certainly not the Indians enjoying the live music on the ghats of Varanasi.

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