SANATHANA- RAAND, SAAND, SEEDI, SANYASI: Raand, Saand, Seedi, Sanyasi: sums up the spiritual lifeblood of Banaras dealt with in acidic tongue and cheeky humour by the lightning wit of famed 15th century local weaver-poet Kabir, to whom this poem is often attributed. It goes “Raand, Saand, Seedi, Sanyasi, Inse Bacche to Sevai Kashi!” A rough translation is, “Widows, Bulls, Stairs, Saints, Save us from them so that we can reach Kashi!! (attain liberation)”
>RAAND – widows who were abandoned and left to seek their survival as prostitutes in the famous brothels of Kashi during the days of the yore– symbolises distraction of sexual pleasure
>SAAND – the Bulls of Kashi who roams freely and can injure you badly if you are not careful and come in their way - symbolizing uncharted and uncontrolled journeys of the five senses
> SEEDI – Flights of slippery steps leading to the River Ganga where you can fall and injure yourself badly if not careful – symbolising one has to be careful and alert so as to not deviate in this journey
> SANYASI – Fake Sadhus who sell phony spiritualism and exploit people – symbolising the ones who journeyed to Kashi, but got deviated in their journey.
FAT FREDDY- KLPD: KLPD is a North Indian Slang whose full form is Khare Lund Pe Dhoka (literally meaning getting cheated with my dick erect). It is actually less about an erect dick and more about failed expectations/contrary to expectations. Varanasi is a city of contradictions where the sublime and the sordid coexist. Varanasi continues to be the holiest city and yet a crass cult of greed thrives and holds sway as the priests fleece you and the touts sell you custom-made doses of phony spiritualism. Its tight net of dark alleys and lanes hold the depths of human despair and vulgarity where fake sadhus and tricksters lay in wait for the gullible. Just a thin line separates the spiritual from the sham; sanctity from the profane, faith from deceit, purity from filth; and, culture from grotesque. So come to Varanasi with no expectations, with an open mind and go with the flow to avoid a KLPD situation.
BROOTKO - LINGAM HUMIDITY: Lingam Humidity is about the torrential rains and high humidity that accompanies the monsoons that usually come in late June or early July for about two months. You sweat like a pig from head to toe and everything in between. Back in the days as the rain clouds gathered, monsoon stag picnics were organised by the merchants of Varanasi around small waterfalls, ponds and gardens. Dancers along with their musicians were invited to create the atmosphere of the gatherings. The songstress sat on swings hung from mango trees full of ripe mangoes and sang rain songs drenched in the falling rain. Each composition was overloaded with sensual imagery of maidens longing for their lovers. There was special cuisine too for these monsoon gatherings – daal (lentils) bati (hard wheat rolls), kheer (rice and sugar boiled in milk or coconut milk) poori (an unleavened Indian bread)
FREESTYLE STREET GANGSTAS (Pluriverso vs Abstract Circus vs Vayu) - BLUE SKIES AND LEMON CHAIS: Varanasi is both Anandavana (the grove of happiness) as also Mahasamshan (grand cremation ground) presided by Lord Shiva himself, the guardian deity of the city, where people come to die from all over India and to free themselves from the suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end. BLUE SKIES, LEMON CHAIS is about chilling on the Ghats in the Varanasi by the River Ganga, sipping Lemon Chai under the Blue Sky in the midst of this pulsating life and cremation rituals with the calm acceptance that dying is so much a part of living...