The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


You may have been living in a city for years but that may not be the reason enough to call it your city, a place you would like to be identified with.

You might have lived in a city for years before leaving it and now the existing contact with it is through your parental house, some friends and the regular visits to city, yet you feel you don’t need to find reasons to be identified with it.

You don’t feel you need reasons because reasons either don’t exist or they exist beyond their visible presence, subtly bonding the city with you where identities merge.

That happens when you happen to be from a place like Varanasi, a place that imbibes every shade of the human evolution in its fold, an evolutionary tree that transcends thousands of years, a history that is said to be older than history for a city said to be among the oldest continually inhabited places.

That happens when you happen to be from a place like Varanasi, a place that embodies a simple and honest mode of living yet remains a spiritual enigma for every conscious soul.

That happens when you happen to be from a place like Varanasi, a place that, in its present age, signifies a growing chaos yet you don’t feel the sense of crisis to run and restore the order.

Rather, you come to appreciate the positive attitude of its inhabitants and their approach to the life over the gnawing infrastructural ailments of the city. Some term it as the ‘standstill’ mode of living but millions come to enjoy and correlate with the ‘order in the chaos’ that symbolizes the ‘Banarasi’ way of life.

I have spent over two decades of my life in Varanasi and I am honest when I say it is not a place that one would want to settle down finally given the present worrying state of the affairs of the city that showcase an unorganized city crippling under the pressure of a four million population base, having pathetic civic amenities and dilapidated infrastructure support.

But Varanasi is the city of Lord Shiva and of Mother Ganga, the two identities that make the city older than history. Lord Shiva is seen as the deity with simplest lifestyle, shunning every element of materialism though being one of the all-powerful trinity of ‘Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh’. The Ganga is seen as giving life to the lifeless, washing all the sins.

And spiritually, the Shiva-Ganga way of life has been the character of Varanasi (or any other name by which it has been known) over the ages, something that has reflected in the living of its inhabitants, something that is still very prominent, a lifestyle that symbolizes ‘everything in nothingness’; a lifestyle that tells us the futility of desires yet significance of striking a balance between materialism and spiritualism.

Time changes many things and the city has seen changes with time but its eternal character that is defined by the ‘Banarasi way of life’ has remained the same as the city is still identified with Shiva and Ganga.

This is what binds the residents of the city eternally to it no matter where they are. They might no longer be its permanent inhabitants but the city calls them and they respond to it.

Yes, there are deviations and the proportion keeps on changing but the survival of the city since the antiquity tells us the deviations were just experimental in nature.

I might settle down somewhere else but I know I am going to be a Varanasi guy all my life. I know that I am going to go back to the city again and again, all for the factors I wrote above – the spiritual enigma of a simple and carefree yet responsible life.

I feel good to be a Banarasi. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -