This is day 2 and the BIG DAY, it is Basant Panchami and the day of the Shahi Snan or Royal bath of the sages and Sadhus and famed Naga Babas who come down from their mountainous retreats to the plains and are visible to the common man. We are all up at 4am and have hit the road with our camera's at 4.30 am and the streets are already full with the marching people who have come in from all parts of India to take a dip in the confluence of rivers on this auspicious day. If we saw people yesterday, today was when the crowds really came pouring in, from everywhere. It felt as if all of India's pious was there to mark its attendance.
The Rudram chanting (hymns dedicated to Rudra, or Lord Shiva) seemed to fill the entire space. The sound reverberated within the small, cavernous shrine, the stone walls echoing the words over and over again till the air itself seemed to pulsate with the same rhythm as the chanting. In such a charged atmosphere, the simple act of placing a bilva leaf on the Shiva lingam and pouring water on it, seemed much more than a mere ritual. It was this divine experience that made our visit to Aundha Nagnath so memorable.
Many years ago, when I started travelling abroad, I noticed people buying things that they didn’t really need. I was brought up in a middle class home where we only shopped for things that we needed and nothing more. Therefore I was surprised when I saw people buying dozens of assorted key-chains as if they were free.
I was delighted to receive this request from your sorority for penning down my thoughts which often get clouded or don't get conveyed. So as you stand on the threshold of adulthood, I find myself go down memory lane to the time when my gynaecologist declared 'it's a girl'. A few hours later with you nestled in my arms I stopped to think, what I had done to deserve this lovely angel. Growing up may have been a roller coaster ride for you with the good and bad times.
None are born avid readers, articulate writers, effective orators or attentive listeners. These are skills that require learning, and more importantly, practice. But, how many of us actually invest time in reading and gathering knowledge? Even if few read extensively, how many take the plunge to begin research and write articles?
Sayantan Dasgupta captures some candid moments...