The train comes to an unexpected halt. The great flood, as I conjure to believe, spreads before me like an eternal scourge, a sea of adversity—loathsome and callous—devouring the prolific terrains of the north, of those gifted domains that the very Ganges, by the benevolence of her custody, fostered over the millenniums. Ganges, the mighty Goddess as one can infer, can be ill-tempered.
The train pulls off, and the jangle is loud enough to mask the pleasant hum of rain. I look through the rain drops, at the eternal stretch of water, at the meadows beneath starved of sunlight which, smothered by the vindictive weight of river, lay like a cadaver. The sodden crops putrefy under the swamp, engulfing the air with a fetid smell; it’s a strong smell; it’s the smell of death.
The train lurches to a standstill again, this time over a withered bridge, and I look down. Colorful umbrellas dot the walkaway. It’s a street, or rather a street in distress, nonetheless a street of the valiant souls. They walk, knee deep in water, against the gush of muddy torrent, negotiating the stinky channels full of worms and maggots, as the sewer and lane celebrate their oneness under the torrential sky.
It’s getting darker, and the view is blending with the darkness…What am I thinking?
“One should not be amazed … that this Ganga is really Power, for is she not the Supreme Shakti of the Eternal Shiva, taken in the form of water?”