Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Ladhak & Kashmir 2010 - Day 2 - Sindhu Ghat
1st July 2010
From Stok we drove towards the one destination that my father looked forward to with reverence in the entire tour. The rest for him was sightseeing. This one was a pilgrimage. It was the Sindhu river.
The most important river for Hindus, not because it is the origin of the word Hindu but because it was on the banks of this river that the civilization of India dwelt and flourished. In the Vedas, it is the river Sindhu that’s mentioned again and again along with Saraswati, not the Ganges, nor the Yamuna.
He even wanted to take a dip in it. But didn’t.
This Ghat was inaugurated by Advani in 2001. This was a notice I had missed during my 2009 visit.
We all stepped into the water, but not before sprinkling a few drops of it on our head with reverence. The water was shallow close to the banks and inviting.
After taking a few pictures of my parents standing ankle deep in it, I stepped in.
One step at a time, I went further and further, to repeated shouts of caution from both parents, until I reached a rocky mound that stood out of water. I walked on it back and forth feeling the wind in my hair while my parents kept shouting from the banks for me to stop, the rocks might be slippery, I might slip, and if I did, it would be a very bad sprain.
I giggled and laughed and shouted and even performed a little dance on that mound in the middle of the river.
My dad took a few pictures of my antics but too bad he didn’t have a digital camera.
Cutting small corners cuts out huge portions of our experiences of living.
And then I decided to return. I didn’t remember which way I had groped to this point from the banks.
You cannot leave footprints on water.
But I surely took a different path now. For, after a few steps, the water was deep and I couldn’t find shallow ground for my next step and my heart missed a beat and the colour of my face must have changed too.
My father, sitting on the banks asked me if he should come and fetch me.
I said I would try myself and I somehow reached close to the banks, where he stood with an extended hand.
I curled my fingers around it, once again, after 25 years.
Rare and fortunate are those occasions in my life when I am relieved of the burden of my strength and independence, rendered somewhat helpless and someone feels like taking care of me.