The ghats of Varanasi

story

varanasi

Swathed in  deep orange light, just before dawn

On the ghats of Varanasi she sat alone

Played her sitar in precious solitude

While the rest of the world she could still exclude

A plaintive melody reflective of her mental state

A mournful plea to the injustice of her fate

At these hallowed ghats she had cremated

Her husband not long ago, now she waited

For life to provide her a direction, otherwise

She would wait here, where her cries

Could be drowned in the cacophony of sounds

She felt nothing but despair all around

Her baby lay sleeping in a bundle beside her

Oblivious to the music, to the flow of the river..

 

Soon the sun promised to come up and the place

Filled up with people occupying any available space

She continued to play her sitar, this time with a goal

Of attracting attention of any generous soul

Who would drop some coins impressed by her recital

This was all her shell-shocked mind could do for survival..

 

Day after day she continued, she made just enough

To keep herself and the baby fed, but the sailing was rough

Until one day as she sat playing, seemingly immersed

Completely in music, oblivious of the universe

When a passer-by stopped to listen in keen attention

She stopped, and looked up with deep apprehension

An elderly man looked at her with eyes kind

Her rendition of Raag Bhairavi had blown his mind

He offered her a position to teach classical music

To young children- at first she was afraid she was being tricked

But something in his voice told her he was genuine

Besides, she had nothing to lose, she could only win

Shaken from her torpor, she accepted the offer

It turned out to be the best thing that happened to her-

In teaching young kids how to play the instrument

She overcame her grief,  became truly self-sufficient

As she raised her child, she taught him music too

In doing all of this, her resilience shone through.

 

Today she sits in the front row of the audience

It’s her son’s first solo performance

As she waits for him to begin in nervous anticipation

Her thoughts return to the day of her emancipation

Her eyes fill up with tears of gratitude

The ghats have magical powers-it’s her certitude..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “The ghats of Varanasi

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