It was midnight and I was crossing the bridge once again leaving Kashi. Should I “stop”, or “some other time”, I was witnessing this conversation in my heart when the auto crossed the bridge.I was on my way to home after a long detour and was travelling from Delhi to Mughal Sarai by road.
Mugha Sarai (a place which used to be an overnight stay called as Sarai for Mughal caravans) is a busy railway junction with trains to all major railway station in India. After ten hours of bus journey from Lucknow to Varanasi and sightseeing in Lucknow , I was completely exhausted and took rest on the platform.
I saw a large number of people, mostly migrant laborers from Bihar waiting for their train to get back to their home.
“You can find us in any part of the world, and we migrate leaving behind memories,families, friends and our neighborhood. A lot of us work in inhuman conditions thousands of miles away from home.You have seen us early morning, around a famous Chowk waiting in groups to be taken as a daily wage workers, in offices, around discussions at tea shops, guarding ATM’s ,banks or apartments, selling you vegetables, paan ,bidi or grocery.
If you are around the outskirts of Patna, N.Delhi, or any part of a big city you can see us at construction sites.
Migration is a social norm now, we move away in search of better opportunities to study, earn or to marry.
Outside the station I heard voices “kahan Jaana hain” Where do you want to go ? It was a difficult question to answer.
Finally, I landed up in Pahargunj. On one side of Pahargunj lies a rich, new and massive present and on the other, an old bazaar with trails of past.It is near N. Delhi railway station and has numerous shops selling statues, signboards for businesses but what catches attention are thousands of hotels. You can find travelers, juice shops, small food joints.I visited Hauz Khas Village, Dargah and some other tourist attractions.Each had it’s pace, it’s own charm , it’s own smell.
A lot of hand driven carts are used in old Delhi area .
I still cherish that rickshaw ride, around the chaotic market of Old Delhi.It reminded me of Stree Hawk, my childhood super hero. It’s a must, if you like adventure and would like to know places by it’s smell, like vegetable, spices,fruits, metal work and more.
Having mesmerized by his infectious smile, my street Hawk for the night hails from Bihar and came to Delhi in search of better opportunities.
Lucknow: I moved around Lucknow on a motorbike with my friend Mohit. We went to the nooks and the corners, to the narrow lanes, around buildings, on bridges, to the dhobi ghats. The promise was to tell him, where I want to stop”. We stopped at Bada Imambada” also famous as Bhoolbhulaiya. We met Ali, our guide. Ali shared his little story, how he came into this profession of guiding people. Earlier when he was young, he ran away to Mysore and started loving old buildings and telling people about them. Later after many years,he came back to Lucknow with his family . Now he is a proud father and has taken care of his family well.
This city offers numerous buildings with detailed work and eloquent craftsmanship, Roomi Darwaz , Imambada, KGMC bulidings ,Goyal brothers and some I have forgot. The whole area is an architect’s delight. I was lucky to have my friend Mohit, who with his soulful enthusiasm took me to most of this city. During this ride, I also got a chance to see his work, Threadcraft. He is an entrepreneur working with artisans in Lucknow engaged in Chaikankari .
Chikankari : The blocks are prepared to put designs on our clothes. Chikankari, an old form of craft from Lucknow, where different type of thread are used in patterns to to make designs on our clothes. It is delicate and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabric like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc.This is one of the blocks in preparation which is used to imprint design.It is followed by hand embroidery on the imprinted designs.
These blocks are dipped in a solution of Indigo and Gum to print the designs.
The clothes are then washed at the banks of Gomti. A large number of women are engaged in Chikankari, since this work offers flexibility, they are able to work from home and financially support their families.
Danapur station, Patna.
This detour happened due to unavailability of tickets to my home town, Patna. Many of us are away from home.
Kashi to Kashi was a full circle, so will be some other place , some other time.