In my city there lies a story
Told and retold through ages
Yet it pulls like a new text
You think about it or not
You know there you belong
In its alleys, on its horizon
And the eternity in its court
To my city there goes this story
Of life and beyond
Of living and metaphors
Water, like always
Was flowing then as well
When it suddenly asked
That what I saw in its flow
Life I said and my soul echoed
Like any Banarasi would say
Like any Banarasi is asked
It then pressed further
Bringing in death and beyond
Metaphors of life I said
And my soul reverberated
Like any Banarasi would do
In my city there lies this story
Of life and life in death
And the conversation on it
In a city where Gods belong
And the Ganga bathes souls
Helping you go beyond
Of questions of life
And of fear of death
To coexist within their realm
My Kashi and my life there
It is the story of life
That every Banarasi has there
In its streets, on its Ghats
Transcending like the sky
And complete like the earth



The city pulls me.

Yes, it is not one of those ordinary or routine or normal reasons that call me to never forget this city, to keep this city among the places in my life where I need to come back again and again.

It is complex.

Whenever I come to this city, I routinely find myself disgusted at its potholed roads with clouds of dust, be it in any part of the city. I find myself at staring the ubiquitous garage heaps in every lane, on every road of the city and feel increasingly frustrated about it. I see badly manned and managed traffic stuffed with people and vehicles in every part of the city and feel so helplessly trapped.

And during recent two trips, after we chose Narendra Modi to represent the Varanasi parliamentary constituency with hopes to change its fate, I even felt having a sense of loss on losing some hard earned chance to recovery.

The city’s dirt quotient is still the same as it was in May 2014. There are some efforts but the city needs massive reconstruction and modernization to become a world class heritage city, something that Varanasi deserves. We can’t say when the day will come though we pray for it daily and we can say the efforts so far don’t meet the requirement. Banaras Hindu University, inseparable element of Varanasi’s identity, continues to earn bad name with caste ridden factions enjoying their dominance. Quality of education is consistently going down in this temple of education that is known globally.

But whenever I come to this city, I feel an internal harmony that is refreshing. I feel so charged up – in the lap of Mother Ganga – that things start looking a shade more positive. I feel so complete, so deep inside me, that living spontaneously gets lyrical. Varanasi is uniquely famous for its crowds and I adore feeling a nameless soul in the multitude of people.

How I live this paradox is a question of satisfying internal inquiry for me.

Varanasi gives me what other places couldn’t give me – something I cannot define – but something that I don’t feel restless about.

Yes, the city calls me – again and again – and I come back to it – again and again – feeling at loss at myriad of problems it faces – and celebrating the peace at the same time that it offers.

Probably, that is one of many aspects important in making a true Banarasi.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –