Monday, June 27, 2011
People here name their kids 'Banarasi' and 'Varanasi'. That is how pervasive the spirit of this city is. It seeps into your identity before you know it, like the water of the Ganges filling all those earthen lamps of hopes, prayers and dreams that float on its surface every evening. The city bustles with its very own Banarasi energy that years of bewildered foreign gaze could not refine and change. They wear saffron and chew paan. They wear green and chew paan. They laugh a paan-ful of laughter as they roam the streets of Daalmandi and Chowk like the characters in Premchand's Sevasadan. But that was decades back. Since then, the bicycles and horse carts have been replaced by cars and buses. But the streets are just as narrow, the buildings just as colonial and ancient. But that is Banaras, ever bubbling with noise and energy, never changing.