Friday, April 29, 2011

THE OTHER SON OF GANGES: PART 1


The Other Son of Ganges is a Series that began almost a year back in an e-zine The Banyan Trees . It started out as an experiment and took shape as a 10-11 part series. Ganges, has always been a great inspiration. Of late, I have started to think that Ganges is in fact- a reflection of all life on Earth. Through her flow, here begins a tale- still new, still raw and yet to be lived...

PART 1 : GANGA, THE MOTHER

It all began with water. Even back then, it had begun with water. No, he did not remember it. But he had heard them say so. It all began, with water…

He was wet. But so was the dog. But the difference was this. The dog had soon found a shelter in a broken piece of wooden box. But he was still out there. Beneath nothing. He was wet. He was sad- a castaway. A man, whose life ceased to exist for him to live, still, he was wet.

It all began with water…

His life started at an end. People who were witnesses, told him about it- later. On the banks of the Ganges, he lay on his father’s lap. Through the tiny bronze nozzle, the clear water from the Ganges, poured herself down on his forehead. He did not remember it. But he might have sensed it then, that a bond of a lifetime was being formed there, with that water-the Ganges. His father laid him on the stone grounds of the Ghat. Scattered petals from flowers, the bits of black sesame, here and there, stuck themselves on his tiny body. Soon, he would be washed. Washed with the water from Ganges. Wash him of the sins from his previous birth, which had taken the life of his mother.

His father went ahead, towards the Ganges, to bid farewell to his wife’s soul. He did not remember his father taking the water from the Ganges on his hands, and offering prayers to the forefathers. The smell of burning flesh from the Manikarnika Ghat, remained fresh in his memory, as he had felt it, back then. People told him, all about it, later. Ganges was, now- his mother.

He grew up there, where people only came when their journey through life was about to end- Kashi. The streets of Kashi, was his world. The only world that he knew about. Ghats, water, prayers, fire and pyre. This was all he had seen. People of Kashi, he had later thought, knew more about death, than about life. The dusty streets full of Rudraksh and idols of Gods and Goddesses. Flower garlands. For the living, dead and also for those whose existence was not proved, yet. The sweet vendors. The kadaai outside their stalls where the yellow milk, seasoned with saffron and malaai and almonds, boiled forever. The begging Sadhus whose blessings were for sale!

He’d see people, sometimes, all white in colour, taking photographs of the Ganges. Why were they so excited about the river? He would wonder! Had they never seen so much water before? There was once a white man, who took a picture of him too, standing beside his mother. That was the only picture he had, of him with his mother.

His father was a teacher. He taught the kids at the local school. Every child of his locality learnt their first word from his father. But for a long time, he was never able to say his first word! His father tried and tried. Every doctor and Vaid of Kashi was consulted. But his first word never came out for a long time. May be he was thinking what that word should be. He just couldn’t start his life by saying any words, could he? His first word should be special. May be…

It all began with water…

It happened one day, when he saw his neighbour’s son, pampered by his mother. He did not remember what he saw, but at that moment, he felt that he should be with his mother. He too, wanted a mother to love him, to pamper and spoil him! That was the moment he decided his first word too. People witnesses to this had told him, later. He jumped into the Ganges, shouting “MAA…” at the top of his voice! He just needed to be with his mother…

People kept coming home for the next few days after that incident. He remembered this. They called it some ‘miracle’ and that he had ‘divine’ gifts! His photograph was published in the local paper. He still had the paper- preserved! His father was not happy about it. He was of course happy about the first word- but not the divine part of it.

He somehow knew after this incident that, whatever position he might be in, she would be with him. Help him. Love him, unconditionally. His mother… Ganga…

(..To be continued., Part 2: “Let me go, Mother…”)

14 comments:

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

=)
Ganga Ma!

It all started with water afterall, divine waters of Ganga.

Though I haven't been to Kaashi, the description was lucid and vivid. As for the character, I am still wondering what phase is he presently in, flashbacks don't just happen. Maybe, just maybe it has to do with Water.

Interesting read.

Cheers,
Blasphemous Aesthete

A said...

Very well written. I never been to Kashi or for that matter anywhere close to Ganga..your post took me there virtually

Bhargavi said...

I remember reading this in the banyan site sometime back.beautifully written.

Vivek said...

Hi,

Nice one, initially I thought it was about River Ganga , but reading through I get the glimpses of how it is when someone close to leave you.
Mom is the world to a child , so her loss is irreparable, its only memories that are fresh in memory that's makes one go to flashback.

Nice one loved it.

Re: How have you been , hope all is well and you doing great.

take care.

Kalyan said...

This is a poignant tale and the best part is it can go on and on, if you just build it up slowly. The lines can easily paint a picture of the lanes and by-lanes of Benares or Kashi. The atmosphere of this place is so eclectic that even in this modern age these places of the Ganges has an old world charm of their own.

faitaccompli said...

You really are a true example of "Practice makes a man perfect!"
The evolution of your writings can't be missed!
Very good!

Parul

RamMmm said...

Gangaiyin Maindhan (கங்கையின் மைந்தன்), on the lines of Ponniyin Selvan, was what came to my mind as I ran through the title. Any specific reason as to the use of 'Ganges' in the title as opposed to 'Ganga'? I haven't read Banyan Trees in a long time, so I'll keep a watch here.

Promising start with the etches of the key characters including Varanasi. :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@ blasphemous...

thanks!!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ a...

thanks!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ bhargavi...

thanks!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ vivek...

thanks!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ kalyan...

thanks!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ parul...

thanks!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ ramm...

:) i didn't plan it to sound like 'ponniyin...' ... also the Ganges--- it just happened! :)

thanks!

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