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#Poetry that speaks of a lonely woman on the ghats of Varanasi after being widowed, but who finds peace in following her music to make a life for herself and her child.
Swathed in deep orange light, just before dawn
On the ghats of Varanasi she sat alone
Played her sitar in precious solitude
While the rest of the world she could still exclude
A plaintive melody reflective of her mental state
A mournful plea to the injustice of her fate
At these hallowed ghats she had cremated
Her husband not long ago, now she waited
For life to provide her a direction, otherwise
She would wait here, where her cries
Could be drowned in the cacophony of sounds
She felt nothing but despair all around
Her baby lay sleeping in a bundle beside her
Oblivious to the music, to the flow of the river..
Soon the sun promised to come up and the place
Filled up with people occupying any available space
She continued to play her sitar, this time with a goal
Of attracting attention of any generous soul
Who would drop some coins impressed by her recital
This was all her shell-shocked mind could do for survival..
Day after day she continued, she made just enough
To keep herself and the baby fed, but the sailing was rough
Until one day as she sat playing, seemingly immersed
Completely in music, oblivious of the universe
When a passer-by stopped to listen in keen attention
She stopped, and looked up with deep apprehension
An elderly man looked at her with eyes kind
Her rendition of Raag Bhairavi had blown his mind
He offered her a position to teach classical music
To young children- at first she was afraid she was being tricked
But something in his voice told her he was genuine
Besides, she had nothing to lose, she could only win
Shaken from her torpor, she accepted the offer
It turned out to be the best thing that happened to her-
In teaching young kids how to play the instrument
She overcame her grief, became truly self-sufficient
As she raised her child, she taught him music too
In doing all of this, her resilience shone through.
Today she sits in the front row of the audience
It’s her son’s first solo performance
As she waits for him to begin in nervous anticipation
Her thoughts return to the day of her emancipation
Her eyes fill up with tears of gratitude
The ghats have magical powers-it’s her certitude..
Published here earlier.
Image source: Shuchita Gupta