Sunday 20th april 2014…we met these kids at the ghats of Ganges in Varanasi.  They were in the age group of 8 to 10. We were sitting on the steps of one of the ghats when they approached and requested us to offer coins to the mother Ganges (by throwing coins into waters).

Since I can remember I have seen people following this ritual of offering coins (money) to the holy Ganges as a  way of paying obeisance, showing respect. When trains, buses or other vehicles crossed a river bridge people make a point to offer coins, throwing it through windows. Quite a common scene.  And when the water levels are low, one can find children of fishermen in their boats waiting for such offerings and the moment one threw a coin they will jump into the water to get it. As a kid I watched the entire process with utter fascination. I felt awed by the courage and expertise of those young boys. I wondered at their sense  of precision to guess where the coin might land in water.

As the kids were playing and swimming around us asking to throw coins , we kept talking to them. All of them enjoying bare bodied. One of them who talked a lot seemed the smartest.

What is your name?

Vicky

and your brother’s?

 Mithlesh

 How your name is so modern while your brothers…

Actually my name is Aditya but I like to be called Vicky.

That brought a smile on my face.

Sunder was also talking and playing with the kids in the waters. He asked, you seem to be an expert, teach me some swimming…the kid smiled with pride and said…no, I don’t know much…When I too asked him to teach swimming to uncle, with all the seriousness of a professional came a reply,  yes I can teach but…but there should be some charges (haan, sikha sakta hoon par sikhane ka kuchh lagega)…Ohh….

The kids were taking dives from the steps of ghat and from the boats anchored nearby. They were now assured that they will be paid for this.

Sunder told Vicky, I am asking aunty if she dives like you I will pay her twenty rupees for that.

Vicky said,  Oh no! she will hurt herself,  for us it’s altogether different.  His confidence charmed us.

Sunder once again said,  Ok, diving from the steps could be dangerous but she can dive from the boat, then there won’t be the risk of hitting the steps.

This time Vicky stared at sunder with all seriousness and asked with a pause, ‘ unko dubone ka irada hai kya?[ do you want her to drown]

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Kids definitely are the most honest lessons in happiness. They teach us to enjoy the moment as the next might not be same.The time spent in the company of these kids was refreshing like the cool waters on that hot day.

 

 

 

 

                        

 

                  

 

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