At first I had thought to focus on the object at the centre of the image in this piece and a remarkable sight it definitely is. It belongs to the place, and to the milieu. It is, for those who have not seen it before or could not divine its nature, a hand pushed cart to carry house waste. This cart is found in the narrow lanes of Varanasi where it has been in used for at least as long back as my memory records, i.e. nearly four decades now. It has some character: this cart does have something that can be called distinctive and unique. It does not appear in many other cities, so, it may be a characteristic feature of those quarters of Varanasi that lie in the vicinity of the river Ganges at least.

Then, the thought wandered to the houses, or, more specifically, to the walls lining the narrow lane: the house with walls rising nearly from the plinth, the one on the other side with a wide chabutra running along the front, and the freshly white washed one. The Chunar sandstone is definitely there and the characteristic wavy border of the chabutra, the windows with wooden frame and iron grills, the chajja between the two storeys of the houses and the verandah supported with brackets. All the common features of the stone houses of the narrow lanes of Varanasi are also present there. In addition to that, there’s the decaying stone, especially near the base of the wall, where it meets the open shallow storm-rain water drain. The image speaks that the neighbourhood has not changed structurally for nearly a century or more.

One thought on “Snippets

  1. Thank you for your keen observations and simple descriptions. I know those back lanes well, and you are correct, they are replete with characteristic detail. For me those details have inhaled the exhalations of the passersby over decades, and exhaled afresh in a later year, connecting us through time. Luckily for us, those gullies are well-built and of good material, a gift from those who went before us.

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