Photo courtesy: Patrick Barry — Wikimedia Commons
Disjointed pictures invade my head long after I left Varanasi. Not images of the famous ghats where Hindus cremate their dead or dip into the beloved Ganga. What I remember are street scenes where famous Benares saris festooned store fronts and being hemmed in on all sides by crowds milling their way to and from the ghats.
I spoke to tourists who said they took a boat ride on the mighty river, passing a floating dead cow in their wake.
I woke in the night hearing what I thought was someone invading my room, but it was two sizable rats.
I know this is a city I never want to return to, but it’s also a city I’m glad I experienced.