an angry rivulet rushes down the calm valley
announcing its presence
at every curve and every bend with a loud gush
colliding with another river at dev prayag,
to become the mighty, revered and feared river of india
continues coursing through settlements and cities
almost dismissive of their large presence
and almost dawdling like a large pregnant woman at varanasi
but still seething below
then slows down. dissects the land. into many. tiny. pieces.
as she meets the sea at the sundarbans.
as someone growing up in india, the ganga is a huge part of our textbooks, part of indian mythology – the river that fell on earth from shiva’s matted locks. but, all of this remained distant, till i met the river at her biggest and best!
so a sabbatical from work gave me 2 months to travel across India, i decided to trace the ganges from her source in the himalayas to the sea in the bay of bengal and travelling by road and rail, to actually see and experience. in the high mountains, the ganges is tiny, inaccessible and unstoppable and people wear warm clothes almost all round the year! i chugged on to the great, fertile Indian plains; the ganga here is like the sea and the other bank seems like another country! then chased the river to the sea – where the land seemed water drenched, and one needs to look for land in the midst of immense water.
from the mountains to the sea, much changes –
the landscape, the people,their looks, clothes, customs, food and even language
but their love and veneration for this might river remained constant.
as i immersed myself in the confluence of rivers at allahabad
and think about the ganges flowing through india…
creating, nurturing, celebrating life
throughout her journey
we always refer to a river as ‘she’
she is a mother…