The thought came suddenly. For a generation that has been brought up so westernised, my young daughters were completely ignorant of the Indian way of life. Travel meant uber cool destinations to Europe and the US. The Kumbh Mela seemed the perfect destination to introduce the kids to the essence and spirit of India.Many looked at me aghast! What? It’s torturous, filthy and crowded there. What on Earth was I thinking. And yet I plodded on determined.On a chilly rainy Republic Day we reached the soft alluvial banks of the Ganga. The walk to the various Akharas / sects was an eye opening wondrous experience. The languid Naga sadhus, their naked bodies smeared in consecrated ash conducting discussions on life, our quest for truth was other worldly.

The children listened in rapt attention dutifully collecting prasad. The walkways remained impeccably clean. The air crisp and clear. The astonishing fact was there wasn’t a single piece of plastic to be seen along the entire bank and garbage neatly collected in designated trash cans. E-rickshaws buzzed along. The organisers were clearly serious in their clean campaign here. The air wafted with the chant of mantras.With great trepidation we embarked the next day on the boat ride to Sangam, the meeting point of the giant rivers: Ganga and Yamuna.Would the kids agree to jump into the freezing waters along with the endless line of devotees dotting the shores?With scarcely a murmur they jumped fearlessly into the icy waters clearly open in their acceptance of all that had been thrown at them!

Children are strange lovely things, they surprise you constantly!The Kumbh had been conquered!We conquered our own inner demons today.The surreal chant of the evening Ganga aarti, the coming together of humanity from all walks of life, the consecrated fire had destroyed all our inhibitions.Sharing with all of you to say let us be fearless in all that life throws at us, let us give our next generations experiences of all kinds, let us be accepting in our journey. Life can be simply gorgeous!

Namami Gange

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