… a cloud of smoke billows up in air. The whole atmosphere reeks of stale cigar smoke and wine. There are putrefying human corpses being collected and cremated. A skimpily clad man is meditating sitting atop a corpse. Many scantily clad men are seen smeared their bodies with ash from human cremated remains. They wear skull and bones as ornaments on their body. They let their hair fall to knees. It seems that they eat the leftovers from the dump site. I walk past them to the holy river
Ganges for washing my feet.
I hear the chantings on Lord Viswanath everywhere.
Aghori Sadhus attract everyone’s attention. The devotees seek the blessings from them. The reverence they show; does strike a sense of mystery.
As I am on the lane, Jason approaches nearby.
You traitor, he starts yelling at me.
Shut up, I reply.
I returned your bag a long back. Still you ask for that, he shouts.
You gave!! To whom? I’m shocked.
I don’t have. That’s it. He says scratching his fingers against his forehead.
What do you mean? I ask placidly.
I won’t let you live happily, he challenges and leaves the place.
I watch him going to a corner. An aghori appears before him saying, you won’t go home.
Why does he curse him? I’m surprised.
Where is Gayathri? Shadhu asks.
She is at her marital home, a few reply.
As he takes a few steps, I see, many come fast and stand in circle. They inquire about their future. I hesitate a bit and after a pause I ask,
Will I get peace of mind?
Yes, for sure, comes as a reply.
…. It is night. I stand in the middle of the street and call Emma for the umpteenth time.
Why are you yelling like this? She asks angrily coming out of a house.
Others may notice us; her voice comes out with a bit choked.
I have been looking for you so long. Where were you?
I made arrangements for finishing Jason, she replies.
Hey, my bag is there. I go hysterical.
It is with me, she says.
Is it so? I heave a sigh of relief.
….. I watch the placid water at noon in the river
It is Kalighat. As I go near the temple, it starts raining. I get soaked to the
skin. Vermilion on my forehead gets dissolved. No shop at close quarters. Of
course, no purse too. With folded hands, I pray to Goddess Kali, from the
outside as the temple is closed.
When I think of returning, a call, I hear.
Will you come and take this? a lady sitting at the gate says.
I go and take Vermilion from her. Sorry, I have nothing to offer, I say with a little discomfort.
See your hand, there is aplenty, she shows my right palm.
To my surprise, I have a few notes.
You will give me more later, pray to Her for a bright future, she adds.
I’m in a hurry, I never ask Her, she knows everything, I bend and touch her feet with respect.
I’m here, I reply.
The burglar, who stole your clothes, is gone. His body is at the back yard of Buvaneshwari temple. Come let us bring your clothes back, she gushes.
I try to grab her face in vain and wake up with mixed feelings.