Poem: A Holy River

Waiting for the aarti/ Haridwar

At the holy river, by the ghats,
Mother sheds her usual shame.
She wears her black petticoat.
Her numerous sins. And little else.

The little one is asked to join.
For even at six, one has aleady –
stolen, lied, kissed and cheated.

Her father guards the clothes.
Dirt sticks to her tiny feet.
But she is told that this is holy.
The river, the dip, the day.

They are done with dissolving
their sins, and their prayers.
Father bends down and fills,
a brass pot as he explains –
“This water – is sacred. Pure”

The little one wants to tell him
that it may be a bit pointless.
For in the cold water,
No longer able to hold, knowing,
there was nowhere else to go.
She peed into the holy river.


Filed under Photographs, Poetry and Fiction

18 Responses to Poem: A Holy River

  1. Prasoon

    I knew how thsi was going to be but I loved the words and the way you put them.

  2. Anoop

    hey Neha…
    nice poem… small but nice…

  3. Kg

    :) the neha touch is so apparent. Loved it.

  4. It is not just piss, shit, but countless dead bodies, half burnt that are strewn in the Ganga. Some of us react with Vibhatsa, some get enlightened. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjSU8jx0juc.

  5. mohit

    Reminds me of the Delhi Gymkhana pool – the shallow end, where the 6 year olds frolicked, was decidedly warmer.

  6. nice one…
    was wondering is it from personal experience ;)

  7. omg, nice writing! like the pic too!

  8. A Thumbs Up for this post Neha !!

  9. loved it! nice pic too.

  10. Hey :) I have been a long-time invisible reader of your blog…several blogs, in fact. Today, I have no idea why, I had this urge to connect with all the bloggers whose blogs I have been reading. So here I am ! I like your writing (duh ! why else would I regularly reading it ?) and today’s poem is especially nice. Stark. Biting. Good photo as well.

  11. Vidya

    Very Cute..I loved this one.

  12. Awww!So adorable!Brings back memories of the time I peed in the pool where I attempted to master swimming.
    The picture is beautiful too.Where was it taken?

  13. I have come to ur blog quite often but didnt comment cuz prolly i was too occupied with things…

    anyways i have loved ur review on Kaminey (I totally love that film) and this poem is a masterpiece as well. I love the way you have brought out the innocence of the child and at the same time the way you have mentioned about the typical Indian mindset… simply marvelous.


  14. Lovely! It surprised me, and in a good way!