Photostory: The Guru of Varanasi
Life can surprise you at least with amazing images
I have had maybe the worst day of my trip. Varanasi, the ancient lovely city where Indians come to die, either immersed in the Ganga waters or cremated in one of the many burning houses along it’s path, attracts hoards of tourists, foreigners and nationals. Full of cows on the street and rickshaws, the whole city is simply busy. When I arrived I tried to accept it, get accustomed to it, but to be honest, I simply couldn’t, it was too much too soon.
By the time I set set a foot here, I had just been 4 days in the country so the hectic streets and its sounds were still something very new for me; cow poop all over the place (and I mean when I say all over the place); guess the worst was the overwhelming noise made and the demanding locals trying to sell you something. And then, I got scammed. Three times.
First in a barber shop, where the price went from 90 rupees when I seated to 1000 thousand when I was about to pay; then with a new friendly guy that after walking along and talking to me playing nice turned out to demand 2000 rupees in exchange for his “allotted time while touring me” or so he said; and when tought it couldn’t get worse, in a restaurant they overcharged me for rice and bread, pricing it twice the cost of a main course dish, something that naturally, the menu never mentioned. So it’s simple to say that my morale was low at the end of the day, I was tired, I felt used and stupid. Three times.
Walking back I saw him: carrying a bucket of water, poured himself some of it in a cup, grabbed what seems to be a book, and then he seated in a little corner next to a goddess head, a small sanctuary; then he started mumbling indistinct words (for me), it was noisy in the streets, but he was quiet, just fine at his own spot, no need to shout words nor pray any louder, he was just doing everything his way, pace and volume.
I knew I had to take a shot, hoping he wouldn’t move, I prepared my camera facing opposite direction, I didn’t want to be noticed nor disturb him, I kneeled down, looked back pointing at him and clicked. I looked and it was blurry. “shit”. I turned myself the other way again prepared, kneeled down, turned to him and clicked again.
Photo values: f8 1/250 iso 200 at 35mm
Perfect! So I got up, turned the camera off and walk on by never to see him again. At the end he was a stranger, and so was I.