Monday, July 28, 2008

The return of Confused Soul.. :P

It's been exactly a year since my last post. I don't really know why - I guess I just lost interest in blogging, or 'cos there were other things happening in my life, or as always, I didn't know what to blog about :) But now I'm back, and I hope to continue blogging the way I used to!

What really inspired this post was my trip to Banaras (also known as Varanasi), in UP. I went there with my mom and her mom - my granny, cos my granny wanted to take me to a few temples in and around Banaras. And I must say it was an eye-opening experience. I don't have any pictures with me unfortunately, I wish I had taken some.

~The roads, if I could call them that, were just pure mud. Stones and puddles all over, it was a complete mess. And such narrow streets! I wonder how people manage to drive there! And I am surprised people there haven't turned deaf - every single vehicle on the streets honks continuously.

~Traffic - my definition of it in Banaras: It's an ocean full of fish swimming in all directions - you find your way through and try not to get hit. Lol.. It was pretty hilarious.

~Temples. People go there with so much devotion, but the way everything has become so commercial, it is really sad. You can't visit any temple in peace. Right from the time you are half a km away from the temple, pandits come to you from nowhere and follow you till you reach the temple, offering you a good darshan in a short time, buying all the necessary items for the pooja, etc. There are a million shops selling things that are offered to God - prasad, flowers, milk, coconut, etc. and all the vendors call out to you to go and buy from their shop. You just cannot enter the temple in peace. As if this is not bad enough, you have beggars before you enter the temple, inside the temple, and when you are out, asking you for money. There are some who say they sweep the temple and so ask for money. Don't we put enough in hundis for the management of the temple? Then they say things like you will get a good spouse, make good money in business if you give them money. The problem is also that if you give any one needy person a few coins, the rest will come crowd around you. Everything has become so commercialized - it was a sad sight.

~Tourists. All the Indians treat tourists like they are Gods or some aliens from outer space. I wonder what impression they get of India. All the Indians try to make as much money from the tourists and I wonder if they resort to cheating them in doing so, by giving them false information or charging them exorbitant amounts. At the station, this foreigner was taking snaps of a little girl cleaning the railway tracks.

~Train arrival announcements. My train was late by a couple of hours. While we were waiting at the station, each train's arrival brought with it - *Ting ting ting*, then the announcement in Hindi, then in English, repeated atleast twelve times each! When the current went off a couple of times, I was so happy! Lol.. But it came back in a minute each time.. The announcements were really very annoying.. they were too loud, and were made too many times. And there was absolutely no mention about my train being late for the two hours that we waited. We were wondering if we had missed the train or something.

India is such a beautiful place. It has so much to offer in terms of culture and traditions, monuments, temples, etc. It has already become such a popular tourist destination. Rajasthan was full of tourists when I went there. I hope the government takes steps to put some systems into place, and to make potential tourist spots clean and organized, with good systems into place for tourists to get reliable information and to get bookings done. And when it comes to Indian devotees visiting temples and the like, I hope something is done so that we can have hassle-free and peaceful visits to religious places.