Hundreds of paper kites fly over Ganges in Varanasi. It is the little boys who send them up from the flat house roofs or from the ghats. Some are just next to the cremation fires and fly their kites high up into the sky. I see some young girls playing hide and seek between the cremation fires, they are smiling and laughing. Life and death goes hand in hand here. Ever so often more bodies and more wood are carried to the ghats. The dead are decorated with flowers and fabrics shining like gold, there are no sad vibrations here, but rather life and life. The fires are lit, it takes about three hours to cremate a body. People stand close tot he fires, and life goes on. Death is taboo in the West – here it is a part of life and is not hidden away. In the West we are forced to live the spokes in the wheel of life in institutions for the old people, institutions for children, here people are living inside the wheel.
Yesterday I bought a chicken to Raj, my rickshaw man. They are sold alive, and slaughtered and skinned on site. I have never bought a fresher chicken.
Just now I am struggling with a food poisoning, I am vomiting shitting water. I bought something from one of the many street vendors selling Indian fast food, but apparently I could not handle it. It is also a part of traveling in India, something one must assume will happen, but it will likely pass.
This is my last day in the fascinating and thought-provoking Varanasi. A place one never forget after a visit. Today the sun is shining and it is nice and warm here, but the last days have been cold and hazy. We have decided to travel to Puri on the eastern coast, south of Calcutta. The most beautiful beaches in India are said to be there, it will be nice with sandy beaches, palm trees and warmth. We will take the train this evening, and if we are lucky, arrive there tomorrow morning. At present there are strikes in the railway, and others I have spoken with have been delayed for 12 hours or more. We will just have to cross our fingers and take the day as it comes.
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