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evening aarti with mum

It was a quiet balmy evening. A gentle breeze wafted in from across the fast moving waters of the river. We were staying at a small ashram by the river Ganga in Rishikesh. Rishikesh at that time used to be a quiet clean peaceful little town. Unlike the noisy congested mess it turned into later. Then it was so cozy you could walk bare feet around town even if you were not used to. The ashram we stayed in was equally nondescript. With just 3-4 people. My mum and I sat for the aarti, a small affair on the white marble steps that led down to the waters. A couple more visitors joined in. And then began an hour of some of the most beautiful singing one could experience beside the Ganga. An old blind ascetic and a westerner sadhu on a harmonium singing bhajans on love and Krishna (my mum's favourite!) As the singing neared the end, my heart felt a brief moment of extreme bliss. I told mum and she just smiled, said something similar and held my hand to get up. Then together we lit beautiful diyas made of leaves and marigold flowers and set them afloat into the frighteningly fast moving Ganga.

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