I am sitting on the steps of the Ghats by one of the many Chai shops. There are lots of things to see. Just to give people an idea of how overwhelming it can be, how much is happening at once on the streets, for a few minutes every night I will sit by the Ganges and write down as much as I can as the sun sets.
A man with one leg. Sadhus with tridents. Old men in orange robes. Boat loads of people rowing down the Ganga. People selling postcards. A man playing a flute. Men with their arms around one another. A goat on the roof of a temple. A goat trying to eat a plastic bag. Little boys playing in the water. Sellers carry their wares on their head. Indian music is blaring over loud speakers. A puppy with a skin disease. Japanese tourists in Nike baseball caps. Frederique is in front of me. A tour guide being pestered by people selling bangles. A man in white bringing chai to people in glass cups. A man selling flutes from a tree made out of flutes. Men coming to stare at the western tourists. Micha and Inga to my left. A couple speaking Hebrew to my right. A poster of Krishna and Radha behind the chai shop. A man selling crunchy snack foods by the Ganga.
The sun is setting. A woman in an orange sari. A man is yelling “Hi everybody” from a boat. A discussion over why Varanasi is only on one side of the river, and only barren sand on the other. A man selling coconut slices. Indians stripping to loin cloths and wading into the Ganga. A goat baaing at the top of its lungs. Two boys looking over Inga’s shoulder to read what she is writing. A large boatload of tourists all taking pictures of the Ahilyabai Ghat (where I am). A woman in a purple kameez. Another boat load of tourists. A little boy collecting plastic bottles. A man who looks like Frank Zappa. Kids playing where I had my first flute lesson. The little boy with postcards who keeps coming back. Another flute seller. A guy in bright yellow pants and a green shirt. A man just said namaste and shook his hand. A Sadhu who we have decided is a westerner in disguise. He has a trident and blue robes. A man in red jeans and a red t-shirt and a red stripe on his head (a westerner).
The sky is fill of birds. Another group of boys pausing to stare; these ones have lace hats on their head. A man with one blind eye wearing a dhoti as a scarf. A boy selling colour in a box. Little kids running and playing. A man with a scared face. Westerners taking pictures. People eating peanuts in cone shaped tubes. A man with a basket of bread on his head. A man with no teeth eating a coconut. More boys reading over my shoulder. Two Sadhus in saffron robes. A bundle of unknown contents floating by (probably a body). More men looking over our shoulders. A definite drop in temperature. A pain in my side. A kite that fell into the Ganges. A wedding procession. The groom in a silver turban. A guy with dreadlocks and groovy sunglasses. A very loud Sadhu ranting a raving.
It is starting to turn golden. More boys trying to read over my shoulder, The little boy is back with his postcards. People sitting under the umbrella sun shades, all watching us. A man building a boat, apparently he has been doing this for three days. A little girl selling colour. A man was just chased off by the owner of the coffee shop, he paused to sit with one of the westerners. Frederique has left and her friend has gone to find her. A different man selling flutes, he is not as good at playing as the other guy.