The call of Ganga – 1

July 29th Sunday, Guru Poornima…It was early bird time when I set out in a cab, and on reaching Nehru Place, I got off near Paras cinema – where I was to wait for Marwadi, my old school chum.

Nehru Place wore an ‘abandoned factory’ sort of look at that time of the morning. It was a ghostly jungle of concrete. The outer-Ring-road pavement in front of Paras theatre was not without activity though. Some pavement dwellers were fast asleep – nary a care in the world. There were a couple of newspaper merchants, who were unrolling the morning’s papers from a large-large bale, doing some artistic-magic and folded them in intricate ways – ready for display in shop-windows and shanties. Some stray animals, garbage strewn around, and gutter stench completed the picture. Good Morning!

Soon Marwadi loomed up the horizon and down the flyover in a large Toyota Innova taxicab, and we were on our way. We were nearly done in when a truck drove past us and immediately turned directly in front of us. Somehow the survival skills of the taxi driver saved us. There is such a thing as Karma.

Twenty minutes later, we went past the beautiful Akshar Dhaam temple, and drove into Mayur Vihar – Phase 1, to pick up Ramay (pronounced Raa + May) and Venkat, also school mates.

So there we were, old school chums, going out together, some three decades and more since the time we passed out of school! We were school kids, all over again. Age doesn’t count when you are with your classmates.

Our destination: Garhmukteshwar.

In the 1500 kms route that Ganges takes from the mountain to the sea, Garhmukteshwar is the point that is closest to New Delhi. It is about a couple of hours drive from the point where river Yamuna flows, near Akshar Dhaam. The road to take is the National Highway that goes towards Lucknow. A good road to drive in.

Ramay was worried. He was worried that we had picked the wrong day to go the Ganges. “At least a hundred thousand pilgrims will come there today” he warned. He claimed that he’d been there and done that on a similar festival day. I wasn’t worried. I had implicit faith in my guardian angel and so pooh-poohed his apprehensions.

“It’s a great day to have a bath in the Ganges! Guru Poornima! These things don’t happen by chance or by plan. This is Karma at work. Take your foot off the pedal, and just float downstream with the flow of Karma. Heed the call of Mother Ganga!” I said, with a spiritual flourish, which only made him feel even more cynical.

Marwadi too muttered something about Kawadias…Their tryst with Ganges too commenced on Guru Poornima day. He too wasn’t too sure…

Driving past Hapur, we ran into a huge traffic pile up. Thousands of vehicles in standstill. The highway was choked. No can move, Senor. Ramay smiled.

When things go wrong, skeptics smile….

                                                      To be contd…


6 Responses to “The call of Ganga – 1”

  1. Srinivasa Says:

    It wasn’t your karma that saved you guys in Nehru Palace. It was Ramay’s Karma. When he decides to have a dip in the Ganga, it goes as per plan.

    I have never had a dip in the Ganga since 1965. Somehow it has never worked out. I think I need to hitch my wagon to Ramay’s stars too. Anyway he did promise me last time. Ramay, are you reading this?

  2. Srinivasa Says:

    Anyway what’s this about Kanwadias? I used to see them on my way to college (back in the 70’s) especially when I took the newfangled invention, then known as the Teevra Mudrika (TM). TM visited all the garbage dumps in the city. It was in short the stinkiest bus ride in the city in those days.

    I heard their trip starts in Haridwar and ends in the Shivmandir in their native villages. With all the roads and high speed traffic in Dilli, I hear every year a few get run down too.

    Can you write about the Kanwadias?

  3. gkamesh Says:


    Kanwadias comes from “kavadi”…a pole over the shoulder, with two receptacles at either end…and in this case, filled with Ganges water….shall attempt a post on them in this Ganga series….

    And yes….it was Ramay’s karma….he is a karma yogi….


  4. krishashok Says:

    Teevra Mudrika and Nehru Place. Brings back memories of the Red line buses of yore, whose name had an uncomfortable connection with the number of people they tended to kill by rash driving. I think the govt actually changed the name to Blue line just for that reason 🙂 In my first few months in Delhi, I used to wonder what this “palace” was, the one that the bus conductors kept referring to. Nehru Palace. Of course later, I learnt the finer aspects of North Indian english pronunciation

  5. Srinivasa Says:

    I’m happy that Krishashok spotted my reference to ‘Nehru Palace’.

  6. ramey Says:

    yes… srini ., this promise still holds good… any trip to the Ganges with the enlightened people of your stature is always awaited…

    even a trip to Kurukshetra for that matter would be wonderful… have you ever been there??

    BTW….Do you get to see DD podhigai… have you heard Melukudy Krishnan ‘s Commentry on Bhagavatham…


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