So, you came!

Yes you, who followed my wisps of thoughts

wafting on the ethereal web.

Catching the strands of gossamer, infinite,

insubstantial, nearly invisible,


You reached.


I don’t know who you are.

I never knew you’d come.


I know you;

and i knew you’d come.


For destiny is not as inscrutable

as they’d like us to believe.

I know.

I’ve been writing mine

for such a long time.

It was I

who’d preordained

that we’d meet.

What’d I tell you about myself?

You know.

That’s why you have come.


Home is where it all began.

Mayn’t end there though,

For the unfortunate exile:

Self-imposed, planned or accidental,

Home is far, unreachable,

His heaven, his hell.

The sun rises everyday over a large number of rivers. They all look beautiful reflecting the vermillion of the rising sun. One of the images above is of the sun rising over Gangaji in Kasi. What makes it so unique for me? Why do I write of Kasi only? Have I never been to any other place in my life? Have I never experienced any other city? Yes, I have been to some other places. I spent a couple of years in Dimapur, and then some more in Udaipur: both very beautiful and unique cities. I feel for them and miss them, and sometimes have an urge to visit those cities, especially the places where I used to live and work or used to visit regularly. Still, the urge has not overpowered me yet. These beautiful cities have not entered my existence so deeply as to become one with me. Banaras has. I have not always loved it. Neither have I always wanted to be there. Yet, I have always felt very strongly towards it.

I was born in Kasi and I grew up there. In any story of mine, there’ll be Kasi. In anything I write about Kasi, I will appear, sooner or later. That happens to be the case in many of my posts. My city is old. My city is new. It’s both at the same time and more. It has a palimpsest like quality, with one difference, all the layers of signs can be seen at the same time at some places.

I’m an exile working in various cities of India to survive. My heart is in Kasi. I borrow Zafar’s words to speak about myself:

Lagta Nahi Hai Dil Mera, Ujde Dayar Mein,        (My heart is not happy, in this barren city
Kiski Bani Hai Aalam-e-Napaidar Mein                  Who has ever felt fulfilled, in this mortal world)

Itna Hai Badnaseeb “Zafar” Dafn Ke Liye              (How ill-fated Zafar is! For his own burial
Do Gaz Zameen Bhi Na Mili                                          He couldn’t even get two yards of earth

Koo-e-Yaar Mein                                                              in land of the beloved.)


Dear Reader

The information about Kasi presented in the blog has mostly one source: my life in Kasi. It may not be 100% accurate. Whenever you find any kind of error: factual, syntactical or semantic, I request you to leave a comment on the page where the error is found.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

56 thoughts on “Home

  1. Rajnish if you keep on writing with this speed and intensity you will steal a march on me on my own feelings and expressions.

  2. Hello Rajnish. Nice to meet you. Thank you for visiting our blog and for the ‘like’ on my post about Varanasi. In case you’re interested there’s a second post about Varanasi, focusing on life on the Ganges here:
    http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/india-part-15-varanasi-the-holy-city-of-benares/ I hope you enjoy it.
    I’ve read a few of your posts and feel your deep love of your city. I hope you get to live there again someday.
    We only had six days there but it was enough for us to fall in love with it. It’s definitely at the top of the list of the most wonderful places we have visited, and my sister has already returned for a second visit.

  3. i never thought that your painting will look so gook on screen its looking really good and i like it , congrates. swasti

  4. Hi buddy.It’s Nice to read and have a feel of Kashi.But kindly give a touch of it’s founders and their importance for Kashi.More ever you know one thing?Ganges flows in opposite direction in Kashi.That’s one of the characterising feature.

    • Thanks for visiting, reading and leaving your feedback. For me, there’s only one direction in which my river flows: the direction in which it flows in Kasi. When has it existed anywhere that’s not Shivji’s Kasi?

  5. Quote the words of Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan about Kashi.He was a great admirer of Kashi and a legend whom you cannot forget for Kashi.

    • Your comment about Ustadji is very true. Please forward me the exact words for I am not in possession of the same and oblige. I’ll definitely do a post based on your content, giving full credit to the ideator.

  6. Thank you for your response to my writing on Benares. I often wonder why I write, but the appreciation of a knowledgeable reader makes it more than worthwhile. You write beautifully, and from your photographs, you have an artist’s eye. I love cities, have lived in a number of them (have posts about Paris and Ankara and a book on Mogadiscio) and am exploring others, especially Bangalore and Bombay. I liked Allahabad. (As an American, Chicago is my favorite in the U.S.) I wanted to retire in Bangalore but Ravi and his family disagreed. When I began exploring Benares I had no idea what to expect and now, like so many others, am enthralled by it. I have two more posts to write about Ravi in Benares and one about Sarnath. I write to understand, as an American, my Indian husband of sixty-one years. You are fortunate to have a wonderful city, a city of wonders, that you call home and that you love. I hope you prosper and can live there in peace and comfort. I quote Nehru about myself — I am at ease everywhere and at home nowhere. Ravi felt the same. I need to explore that, too.

    • Thanks for the appreciation: of my city and of my blog, although the blog has no separate identity from the city. There’s one curious thing I’ve noticed about Banaras: the pictures of ghats always appear beautiful. It’s an enigma deeper than Monalisa’s famous smile. I hope that your hope of me living in Banaras in peace comes true, because I’ve been an exile for over a decade now. Please keep writing about my city. Visit the city too, and my blog could point you to some spots that may interest you.

      I have a request to make. Can I borrow (I always give detailed credits of course) some of the photographs you have put on your post? I’d be ever thankful.

  7. thanks Rajnish for clicking that ‘like”button on my post cause it directed me to your wonderful blog. Fascination for Kashi….who can save from the magic of Varanasi. We both husband and wife are equally and madly in love with the city. you know from our city we often hop onto a night train to reach varanasi in the morning ,spend the day at ghats and in the night back to our city. And this we are doing from last 29 years.Sunder’s first clicks of Varanasi were mono prints from a second hand Pentax ,we could ill afford at that time. In fact the very first he took from that camera were of this city we are in madly love with.
    Every time we visit it offers different kind of experience……pure joy,mystique,anchoring feel,emancipation…the list is never ending.It binds ,it frees…..
    lovely pictures you have there and your words an added bonus.

    • Thanks to both of you for loving my city. Thanks also for clicking such beautiful images of the Lolark Kund. I wonder how the green yet transparent water of the kund could be captured so well. Could you please tell me at what time of the day were the images clicked?
      And yes, keep coming back for more, for Banaras is, what Shakespeare had in mind when he made Enobarbus speak about Cleopatra.

      • Enobarbus about cleopatra…..so aptly and beautifu;;y said. those ” purple sails”,” silver oars”,” golden tissues”……definitely for a Benaras lover it’s all our majestic,graceful Ganga Maiya and the Sun God ,moon rays adding to it’s magic splendour.
        Thanks for the appreciation of Lolarka pics….it was about 11 am and the time of year Shhradha time before oct navratri……dirct sunrays were not there but adequate rather perfect kind of light was there. between us two Sunder is photographer while I try to express in words. Only this time he could not carry his kit so I clicked by my pocket camera.

  8. Gyanshankul ji I am from Sonarpura, Varanasi and have spent a lot of time in Kali Bari, but I never exercised in the akhara thare. I’m a fitness freak and would love to learn using gada and jodi if someone taught me. I believe in lifting weight and compound exercises. Injection, steroid and supplements are useless. I’ll contact you when I come to Banaras next time.

    • Thanks for liking what my blog has to offer: Varanasi. Thanks for visiting my city and writing about it. Keep coming for more. Varanasi will always have something interesting.

  9. It’s nice to see a blog about the city I call my home. I’m missing it terribly as I try to once again make a home in Canada. Perhaps we can meet next time I come to town. I’m sure you’ve seen the many articles I have written about Kashi, that great city of light….. Peace

    • It’s nice to meet a brother through the internet. We both call Kashi home and yearn for it while away from it. I have been an exile for past 12 years. No, I’m not trying to make home anywhere else, I am just spending years in hope of a final return.
      I have read and liked your stories and pieces on my city. Please revisit, mentally/physically, and write some more. Pranam.

      • You cannot imagine how long for that city these days…. It’s a feeling like being shut out by a lover….. This is looking like the first winter in ten years I will not be there…. Perhaps I will have to write a letter to my love….

    • Namaste. The priest family there is our family friend. I could very easily provide you the information had I been there. I am away from home. I’m an exile. Give me some time. I’ll definitely post the story of that temple whenever I go home, probably (hopefully too) by July.

  10. Dear Dr Mishra,

    I am researching my family’s history and would like to communicate with you. I accidentally found out about your passion and works on Varanasi from Amazon.com. My family had ties with old Kashi (since the time of Warren Hastings) but a lot of memory have been lost over time. It is a personal quest of mine and would appreciate your guidance and advice. I have previously written to a few Kashi-based institutions but never heard back. Perhaps my queries may interest you. I have provided my email, if you would like to respond to this message.

    Thank you for your time.


  11. I was totally reading it in your voice, sir. Have you not written anything about your recent political awakening (or reawakening…) I remember you mentioning something about it but I couldn’t find it anywhere.

  12. I feel so blessed you came to my blogpost and it brought me here. Love your words and feel you heart! i LOVE Kasi too. Har Har Mahadev ki Jai! Feel it is His blessing to be here today – cannot explain more at this point. Just happy, excited and blessed – and looking forward to reading more from your amazing pen! Thank You!

  13. मन आनंदित हो गया. काशी के बारे मे जितना समझने की कोशिश करो उतना ही कम है. घाट के किनारे घंटों बतियाना, बिना मतलब किसी को भड़का कर उसके मुख से बनारसी श्लोक सुनना…. अजीब आनंद है इस आनंदकानन का. जब भी बनारस जाता हू एक अलग सा महसूस करता हू.

  14. Hi rajnish, this is Sadia from Kashi. I want to talk to you regarding history of Kund and its functioning of water flow. please email me at- sadia.khanam92@gmail.com
    I am doing a research on Kunds of varanasi and the social, ecological importance it had ! which is now lost. please contact me its very urgent and needs your support.

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