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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Aditya Bahl: When I went to buy ENO for Ashish at 7:30


Burning in Manikarnika. Varanasi, India. Manikarnika Ghat, on the banks of the sacred Ganges is the main burning ghat in Varanasi (Benares). It is said that this ghat symbolises the principles of both creation and destruction, which are inseparable. This is certainly the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated, as it is believed that dying in Kashi (the city of light) and being cremated here brings Moksha (liberation), thus breaking the cycle of births and deaths. Some also say that Lord Shiva himself whispers the mantra of liberation in the ear of the deceased. Dead bodies are carried here on bamboo stretchers through the alleyways of the old city, and are doused in the Ganges before being cremated. The pyres are then handled by a group of outcasts known as doms, until the whole burning process is over: photo by fredcan, 5 June 2008

on our doormat
by an invisible dog

in the gali
a dead cat

old man raising the shutter of his shop

an autorickshaw
with school children

two coins
& then everything

the hole
in my pocket

the dead cat again

Aditya Bahl: When I went to buy ENO for Ashish at 7:30, from dipping butterflies, 15 January 2012

Gali, India. Religious images are a common sight in Varanasi (Benares), the holy city of Hindus, as seen here with these two popular wall paintings of Lord Shiva, known as Mahadev in Varanasi, and Ganesha: photo by fredcan, March 2008

The lady & the dog.
Life on the ghats in Varanasi (Benares): photo by fredcan, 29 October 2007

Beggars, Varanasi ghats: photo by fredcan, March 2008

With gratitude to fredcan for opening these worlds to us through his lens and to the poet aditya for bringing the work to our eyes


Nin Andrews said...

All I can say is WOW! Amazing.

TC said...

A bright word on a gloomy day, for which many thanks Nin.

Contemplation of top photo suggests it may be a day for understanding... something.

An Aditya poem from last week begins:

today in the city everything is
skidding and wet

(Here on the drizzly banks of the sacred Freeway Feeder, a vagrant cow like that one in the bottom shot would definitely be in peril.)

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Aditya’s poem—fragments of a morning pieced together masterfully.

manik sharma said...

Aditya and his maniacal mornings..i've shared many of those...including one in which i burnt my hand trying to cook for the bugger and he got lost on the way back home after having ventured almost heroically to bring me some antiseptic and the save the day(and two fingers)...inevitably i had to go out and save some pain on myself..He circled the earth(it seemed) before coming back..and then ate and slept...

TC said...


I thought so too.

It seems in this case youth is not being wasted on the young.


Brilliant of you, in the absence of that talented but elusive imp Aditya, to loyally represent the home side.

It seemed poor form to enquire of our Good Samaritan friend the poet himself re. the the specifics here.

So I have now spent much of a frigid night by the freeway feeder studying the history of James Crossley Eno, inventor of Eno fruit salts.

It seems I come a bit late to these studies, as generations of children have been dosed with the stuff since Mr Eno invented it in the 1850s.

And now I learn it is being withdrawn from the UK market this year.

However it seems Eno is still going strong in India and Africa.

After all, when a product has earned the pharmaceutical companies 30 million quid over the better part of two centuries, there is always a school of thought that's going to say "Why stop now, and if it was good enough for the colonies back then, surely we can coax a few more millions out of it".

I could not discover anything very serious as to Eno's putative harmful effects (if any), whereas the new, substitutive medications appear to have significant drawbacks, esp. for diabetics.

And now having immersed myself in the lore of Eno, I must admit to a growing secret hankering for that "refreshing zing".

aditya said...

Nin, Vassilis, Manik, Tom-- many thanks dear friends.

Elusive only because there is little or no internet here.

And these pictures Tom are still .. sinking in. Varanasi is casually denounced as a favorite haunt for the old stuffy Indians or the hippie foreigners. And as I say, these pictures Tom.. are still sinking in.

ps-Eno is definitely a big hit in India.

TC said...

Thanks, Aditya, for being your sweet genius self. It's good you were being elusive, gave the wonderful Manik a chance to testify as to your... shall we just skip the preliminaries and call it saintliness.

Yes, too bad about all those credit card hippies turning Varanasi into a Tourist Destination. Jeff in Venice / Death in Varanasi, how coy.

Our friend fredcan is French, but my guess is he spends more time looking more closely at the life and culture than 99% of the foreign traffic. That cow didn't even seem to notice he was there. Then again, if we too were sacred, our minds also might well be elsewhere.

It was interesting looking into the history of the inventive Mr Eno. All those little pills for tummy upset in all those places for all those years. A wonder he had time left over to invent electronica.

ACravan said...

Have been dwelling here on-and-off all weekend, astounded by the quality, sort of shattered and put together again by the experience of it. Curtis

TC said...

Our ghats are full of cats who badly need a dose of Eno.