Night at Ghats of Varanasi!

If you are living in a college hostel and don’t pull an all-nighter, then you are not a true hosteler. I thought of Night out many times but never succeeded. Today without planning, it is just happening. At 10 P.M, we pulled out the cycles out of the stand and went to Assi ghat. We- Kevin, Gio, Riko, Connor and Me. It was my third consecutive night at Assi. We strolled around for some minutes, then started walking along the shoreline, actually ghats. Walking along the ghats of Varanasi is one of the things that one must do to get the feel of being a real Banarasiya. Assi, then came the Tulsi ghat. Followed Jain Ghat, Prabhu Ghat, Mahanirvana Ghat, Prachin Hanuman Ghat and a lot more. The names of the ghats change every ten steps but the feeling doesn’t. The ghats are peaceful and soundless. Ganga is tranquil in Varanasi most of the time unlike in Haridwar and other northern banks where the flow is vigorous. The ghats get broad as we move further. The path was all stairs to the river and stares at the river. We climb zig zag and then again run to the bank with the lamp posts throwing light on our laughing faces. A few tourists were also taking a walk. Which I don’t think is safe (wandering in the night if you are a tourist). Maybe they were not tourists, many foreigners live in Varanasi.
Noiseless with just footsteps, our voice and bells ringing in some distant temple.
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“Is there Aarti going on in that temple?” Kevin asked the obvious.
“Seems like it.” I said without trying.
“There are fixed times for worship in some temples.” Riko stated.
He was right as I remembered the temple beside my home, the priest rang the bells around 10 P.M.
We continued walking and decided to go to Dashaswamedh Ghat. After hundreds of steps, we were there. We walked about 3 Kms. There was a boat in the still of the night. They were fishing, some were feeding the fishes. Dashawamedh is the main gate for the evening Ganga Aarti and also boating. There were flocks of boats tied at the bank. All were tied to each other. We just jumped in the first, then the second. How to reach the third? Sit at the edge and pull the rope tied to it, pull it closer and jump! Pulling the next boat closer, and hopping off from one to another, after 10 odd minutes we reached the last. It was fairly in the river, felt like we were standing in the middle of Ganga. Sat there for a while and shouted at Kevin who was still standing on the riverside. Kevin has a fear of water or boats, I don’t know. We had a hard time convincing him for boating the day we came at Dashawamedh around the time of Diwali. Tody too, we asked him to come but he didn’t. When we reached the last boat, we saw him in the third. He saw us having fun and tried to overcome the fear. Good, but he refused to come further. We hopped back to the bank. After a while…
“Let’s play a game” Connor suggested.
“Like what? Pakdam Pakdai, like that day?” I mocked. In fact, we have played the game at Assi Ghat. 😛
A few minutes later…
“Tell us the name, boy, tell the name” four of us were gritting at the fifth. The prey.
We played Truth or dare for the next half an hour. The time was 1:30 A.M and the stars were now visible. They were not there earlier in the night. I checked because I love the idea of being on the side of a river under the stars. We started walking back.
It was already half past two in the clock when we reached the hostel. So, we decide that we will not sleep tonight (or call it today :P). And at 5 A.M, we will go to Chowk to eat Malliyo. Malliyo is a special thing that is available only in winters and that too early morning. A true Banarasi told me that in the younger days of my college life back in August. And winters are going to end soon, so we planned it for today.
It’s 4:20 and I don’t know whether they are awake or not? I doubt them. Really, I think Connor and Riko are sleeping, I am not sure about Kevin and Gio, they are in a habit of sleeping late usually around 3 or 4 so, they can be up. But I am pulling an all-nighter for the first time. The one who sleeps is disqualified from the Night Out. Let’s see for whom this night becomes a successful Night Out!

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