I started this blog right after listening a news on India TV news channel that Ganga is going to dried up in next 30 years. I don’t know what is going on with Indian people. What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for the river to become a past?
Ganga is the most sacred river for Hindus. Only a Hindu can tell his devotion for this river or may be not even him. I don’t have words to describe how devoted I am for this river. More than 50,000 people still take bath every day in the Ganga in Varanasi. People from all over India come Benares to take the sacred bath. But we don’t have sacred water anymore. Ganga is still sacred and will be forever but the water. My mother is very religious woman but she doesn’t want to take bath in the river anymore. She still goes to the river, touches the water but never drinks. Hindus make their God statues bathe by Ganga water because it considered as the most clean water on the planet but my mother has stopped bringing the Ganga water in the house temple.
I often talk about this problem to various people and everybody says that our government and few NGOs, that run program to clean the water, are responsible for the present condition of Ganga.
I often take a walk along the ghats of Varanasi and like watching the people taking bath in the river. But sometimes I dont understand how people could do this. I have also taken few baths in the river but can’t do it again. The water is completely black now. I work as tour guide with foreigners. So, I often go for boat ride. There is a ghat called Shivala ghat where a small sewage discharge can be seen. All the water near Shivala ghat is thick and has foam.
Shivala is not the only place where we can see the sewage water mixing with the river. There are more than 7 big discharge points and unlimited small ones also. I am sure we have enough resources to clean this river, not only Ganga but all the rivers. We are preparing for commonwealth games, we are investing huge amonut of money in development projects like roads and special economic zones, we have super subways now. Cleaning of Ganges is not a big deal any more for India but I dont know what our government is doing.
One American Marine retired officer came to my guest house for one week. He had contacted me through craigslist before 3 months of coming to Varanasi. He was writing a novel and wanted to stay in India for one year. This time he just wanted to visit and see the place where he could stay in future. I was so excited to host him because of his job, I thought I will learn a lot from him about American Marine.
He hired me for two days as his tour guide. I gave him tour of Benares and he fell in love with my city. Benares made him remember of his childhood time in New York. He said that New York also had the yellow lights before 60-65 years as we have now. After my job was over, he started wandering in city on his own. I was little scared about it because he was 70 years old, but he was so energetic. Once we had to go somewhere and I found him sleeping that time so I asked him if he was sleeping and his answer was- I sleep when I die. I never want to forget this sentence.
But there was a problem with him that he started eating a lot of street food which made him sick. Once he ate over 1 KG of yogurt and 12 bananas at a time and got really sick. He got cough and cold, his BP and Sugar was so high that I had to take him to doctor and doctor said that everything was just because of that extra yogurt and bananas. Finally he left Benares after one week which was quiet relaxing for me.
An American contacted me to book his train ticket from Varanasi to Agra. I told him to buy ticket online but he could not do it as it was so complicated for him. He had told me to meet for dinner in Benares. We met in Benares in his hotel near Assi ghat. He was staying in very nice hotel. When I entered in his hotel, I found one 50 years old man talking to two western girls that he was unable to find a train ticket so he mailed a guy in Varanasi and offered dinner in exchange of booking his ticket.
I knew he was talking about me so I asked him if he was Christopher and obviously his answer was Yes. I am sure he had thought that I helped him in greed of a dinner at a nice restaurant in Varanasi. He was happy to get his ticket and then he asked me what restaurant I wanted to eat at. I had never thought about his offer, I thought he just wanted to talk me but his thinking was quiet strange. Usually I don’t want to eat in restaurants so I said that I didn’t want to eat with him.
Then he said that he had told his hotel that he will eat out somewhere in any restaurant therefore hotel will not prepare food for him. So I took him to a restaurant where he had his dinner. We talked a lot about Coke issue and again he was not agree that Coke was doing wrong. He thought that it was people’s and Indian government fault.
Next day he called me again asking if I would be his tour guide and I excepted his offer. We went to a lot of temples, wandered around in city. He was very much interested in meeting people so I got him meet to Lali Baba. I am sure he was quiet happy with my work but he paid me very little salary. I think he was the richest person I had ever worked with but the least salary I had every got in my whole life. A person who was a piano player and had housing in upper east side of Manhattan, where the average per head salary is $3,20,000 per year, paid me only $10 for one day of work.
I could not ask for more money because I didn’t see the money he paid me. Later when I saw that green note, I found that it was only and only $ 10. It made me remember about what Lane told me- You don’t need to be rich to spend and poor to save money. hahaha, It was so funny.