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Showing posts from March, 2016

The hitchhiker's guide to my apartment

Located in the west precincts of Andheri, J-504 is best described as laidback. Not the quaint sort of laidback, but the rugged unkempt kind. Nestled between two impoverished settlements at the fringe of what might be called civilised society, J-504 nevertheless enjoys a magnanimous view of Gilbert Hill. What makes it cool is that, it’s the only monolith column of black basalt rock squeezed out of Earth 66 million years ago.

The customs check happens on the fifth floor of a rundown building, through a door that has a portal-like opening at its centre. The locals are likely to peer at you annoyed in case of a surprise visit. Trespassers like salesmen and anyone in want of money are received with caution and are most likely to have their visa shortly rejected.

Varanasi: A sensory pandemonium

Whether it is praying or bathing, shaving, washing dirty laundry or mourning the dead; activities that are generally considered private happen in full public view in Varanasi. And the spectacle begins at the crack of dawn. That is Benaras or Varanasi or Kashi, if you may, the heart of Hindu India, with the paradoxes laid out in perfect sequence.

Located on the north shore of the Ganges, the city is bound by its two tributaries Varuna and Assi from north to south. And hence, the name Varanasi. Among the oldest cities in the world, this spiritual capital of India is a magnet for the devout and the devil in search of salvation.



There’s the old sadhu with a crazy hairdo making monkeys dance and prance to his bidding; strange men in saffron willing to purge your soul at the going rate of Rs 300; European cafes and bakeries lining streets that smell of sun-baked urine; and a lot of barber shops for no apparent reason. As the dozen different stimuli reel through your senses, Varanasi could …