Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Sub tik tak hai - everything is just fine

By some stroke of genius beyond my control we have managed to be in Banaras for Saraswati puja, a hindu festival. Small clubs all over the city set up tents that house a temporary icon of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. One of my Ramlila friends invited us to his neighbourhood's Saraswati and they did a puja (devotional worship) on our behalf. If nothing else, hopefully this will help the dreaded dissertation!! For the people i am travelling with it was a great experience. Then for the last two nights people have been parading their Saraswatis to the Ganges to submerse her. Normally this only happens for one night, but this year, due to some lunar ambiguity, it has lasted over two nights. This means it has been very noisy, but exciting here. It has given my neophyte tourist friends a good tase of just how crazy, colourful and chaotic India can be.

Two nights ago my one friend gave us a banethi demonstration. This is an indian marshall art in which sticks and ropes with fire one the ends are swung around in the most beautiful fashion. I have only seen it done in large crowd situtions like Ramlila, so it was stunning to be given a private show. Then we went over to his house for dinner - the most delicious rajma i have ever had! The Brain would have been impressed.

So far we have also gone for two boat rides. one to the other side of the river and one down along the ghats. Unfortunately my pictures did not turn out. I have brought our new digital camera here with me and apparently i am not that profficient at using it, but i think i have it figured out now.

We have arranged to leave here by train on Saturday evening and will arrive in Agra Sunday morning. Omji has booked us into a very nice, yet inexpensive hotel there. We will spend one day there and then to Delhi and then home. It is not yet clear whether or not i will be spending extra time in Delhi or Toronto.

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