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A night in India

A night in India

It was night.

We drive down to the River Ganges. It's a flood of people, of color, of music, of action, of life. Huge installations by the side of the river with lights, religious services, music and chanting. It's hypnotic.

We get into a small boat and sail past all the music and action to a quiet part of the river. It has a steep embankment. We join a group of many boats sitting silently in the river. And all looking at the massive embankment which is awash in fire.

The air is aromatic with wood smoke from funeral pyres.

Every few minutes a new body, wrapped in cloth, is brought to the river and baptised for the last time before it is placed on a pyre. A fire master takes control of the burning. The family stands close in respect. It's a production line with a body every few minutes.

Each funeral pyre uses a minimum of 700lbs of wood. That's mandated. The boats of the wood merchants bob near us. A long line. This is 24/7 and the wood never stops.

The visitor's boats also bob. The silent audience is respectful. But then a young Indian boy is running between boats selling food. We've already bought flowers from young girls before we departed.

We slowly set our boat into action and we sail away past the pyres, past the incredible music installations and back to the beach, back to our tour bus and back to the hotel.

We check our pics. Was this real? Do we really have pics of this? Yes we do.

Dedication: This piece is dedicated to Barbara Adams who asked me to describe my memories of India.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott

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