Almost 8 months have passed since I left Kanpur for handling a new profile at my previous professional stint. The memories are still fresh though. I was so eager to re visit the place that as soon as I viewed the two consecutive holidays as per the gazetted list of holidays notified for office , I planned to pay a visit. I had a conversation with the buddy of mine in Kanpur and planned for the weekend there. On my way to Delhi station to board the train for Kanpur, flashes of fun-filled memories of the erstwhile “Manchester of India” resurfaced. We were a group of 5 adults born in the 90s who used to share the trips to many restaurants at Kanpur on alternate weekends. Those amusing talks constituted the happy times during our stay at Kanpur. Each one belonged to a different cultural set up , yet the discussions united us all in the heartfelt laughter. The train ran past the steel warehouse which used to be a stopping point while we commuted to the plant. And I reached Kanpur 1 hour past the scheduled time. As usual the green colored auto rickshaws plied near the station to carry passengers to the respective destinations. I boarded one to reach CTI. From CTI , I took an e-rickshaw to reach the landmark of Ratanlal Nagar : “Saurabh Guest House ” . The fresh rains had made the roads clear . The leaves of trees rustled . As I began walking on the familiar road, it felt like traversing the path just like the good old days. I took the second left from the T-point to reach the house I had inhabited some 8 months back. My house owner was switching on the motor for the pumping the water, when I knocked on the gate. She opened it and gave me a warm welcoming embrace. It was a lovely gesture to the start a bright day. After chit chatting with her for a while, I took the stairs to meet my old buddy. I knocked on the gate . To my surprise ” No response”. I called over the phone. Again ” No response”. Waited for a while and again rang her and the call was answered. She came running to open the latch and a glad smile welcomed me : an add-on to the warm embrace.
After a brief chat we got ready to start the day’s first venture to Bithoor. The data collected from the Internet showed that Maharshi Valmiki had penned the great epic Ramayana at this place. The route to the historical place was abundantly covered with greenery.We passed through green fields with paddy crops. A slight drizzle was making the pathways look more scenic. The driver informed us when the Valmiki Ashram came. We alighted and asked the locals for the way. They guided us. The Ashram was right in front of us within a walking distance of 200 metres. To our surprise the structures seemed quite new . We rested for a while under the mighty old Peepal tree. We had heard about the Ganga Ghat near the Ashram and wanted to have a look at it. On asking one of the locals, we got to know that it’s at a distance of 2 kms. We decided to cover the distance on foot. After covering a certain distance we asked the shop owner about the distance left to be traversed to reach the Ganga Ghat. The answer we received was quite surprising : 2 kms. So we started walking without giving it a thought . After a certain distance, the answer from the passers-by to the same question was 1 km. Much relief. A few steps more and we could not locate anything. Further inquiry revealed another 2 kms. These distances amused us and we kept laughing and walking. After a while another shop owner said it is at a distance of 20 steps. We kept wondering whose 20 steps were they?? And finally after all these notations of the distances, we reached the ghat.
I got the first glimpse of the vast river. The river actually justified the adjective it is known with “The Mighty” Ganges. The rains had given a brown color to the river water. It was flowing at full speed. We sat for a while at the footsteps leading to the river. I always took pride in saying that the I have seen the place where in all rivers merge with each other and that is the Bay of Bengal. I must admit it was an exhilarating experience to see the river so closely which has been the centre of many discussions. The river has survived through ages , been a witness to numerous life changing incidents and supported mankind to flourish. At this juncture, the mankind is not leaving any stone un turned to destroy the sanctity. The realization to preserve the river should come fast in order to have a sustainable growth alongside the banks.
After a while we started to walk back and boarded the auto back to Kalyanpur. We zeroed down on ” Kerala Cafe” near the IIT Gate for lunch and much to our satisfaction the dosa tasted genuinely South Indian. Next we checked in to the Rave Moti Mall for window shopping which got converted to actual shopping. And then we came back in the evening to take part in the birthday celebration. Thus the day ended and we fell into deep sleep because of the tiredness due to the so-called 2 kms walk to the Ganga Ghat.
The next day was the auspicious birthday of Lord Krishna. We got up and decided to visit the JK temple after the sumptuous breakfast of Poha. It was deliciously prepared. I sometimes wonder the guests visiting my home won’t be having the privilege of the delicacies. I should tell them before they arrive so that there’s no disappointment.
We reached the JK temple at 1 p.m and found it closed. The visitor’s timings mentioned on the wall were ” 5 a.m to 12 noon and 4 p.m to 9 p.m”. Thus we decided to take a walk to the Anaicha Restaurant and have lunch there. The directions to the restaurant were quite simple yet we had to consult the local shop owners in order to not get misled. The restaurant had a calm ambience . We ordered the food. It was equally delicious. After lunch we took to the main street. It had started drizzling . We got into an auto rickshaw and reached the JK temple. The temple premises are quite well maintained. There was a long queue for entering into the complex which hosted the deity. We decided not to wait and returned.
Aunty had told us earlier to have dinner at her home. At around 8, we went for dinner. We shared lots of hilarious moments and then came back to pack the stuff for return journey. The bus to Delhi reached Kashmiri Gate at the scheduled time.
Thus I added another experience to my life and indeed it was a pleasant one . This time , the memories are not of merely visiting a place, but the ever welcoming hosts with whom I share a deep camaraderie irrespective of the age difference. That is the beauty human beings have been endowed with : a beautiful heart and an intellectual mind. It’s the refinement of both that determines how well we foster and cherish the relationships.