This city awakes at the crack of dawn. The prayers, chants, rituals and habits that are branded into the Hindu ideology are engrained into the daily life of the people here. Bathing, washing clothes, giving offerings, going for long walks, meditation or chanting all echo in the early morning sky. Crows and parrots all pitch in as well, indifferent to individual inclinations.
As the sun comes up locals, boats-men, tourists, chaiwalla's, paanwalla's, students, birds and stray animals all find their way onto the Ghats, there is something overwhelming about the River Ganges and her sandstone Ghats that gives you a reason to greet her every day.
Odd assortments of products like cigarettes, and incense sticks along with packs of chips and pens are sold by old women on the Ghats. Free spirited tourists sit in groups and play unusual music or are busy working with beggar children on the streets in the hopes to help them.
Having tea is mandatory in every hour of the day, and declining it is an offence. Benarasi Chai, unending walks and meeting old acquaintances are some ingredients contributing to the slow motioned pace of this peaceful city. Newcomers or natives all take a plunge into the slow sea of life vibrating within the city.
Doing nothing concrete is also on the calendar, generally a city prepares us on being be busy all the time - but this city teaches us how not do anything.
Boats have the job of bobbing softly on the River Ganges, while a boatman unties the ropes, lets out the nets and cries out to passing travellers. Clothes lay stretched out on the Ghats, while the sun does its duty, virtuously.
People become mere props, that are stationary in their places with nothing to do, but be hypnotized by the depths of the dull gray Ganga. In the absence of tourists the boatmen busy themselves with mundane activities of cleaning, building boats and having conversations.
Sages, men and dogs alike sit on the same Ghats, sharing the same view. Young men have casual conversations about ideologies and utopias on the steps outside their houses. Priests prepare for the Ganga aarti in the evening, while astrologers advise worried women, locals take a nap under the characteristic cloth umbrella's, while some folks interact more easily with animals. A sadhu is stoned under the effect of charas, while the temple drummers remain euphoric while becoming one with the drum beats. Seagulls fly over the surface just enough to skim across it, creating ripples, while the dead bodies wait patiently for their turn on the Ghats used for cremation, where the fire never dies. Smoke slogs its way into the evening sky, adding to the mysterious charm that hangs in the air. Rubbish floats through the river creating disturbances in the otherwise smooth surface, while boatmen and hawkers compare their earnings for the day.
Constant death is compensated by creation. Children can be found celebrating the birth of newly born puppies. And sometimes lone walkers walk, ignoring everything around, aimlessly. Ghosts also play their part to perfection within abandoned monuments, keeping away the locals and befriending the junkies. In action or non action every being is performing its intended role.