Sunrise in Hardiwar

Impossible to sleep at sunrise in Hardiwar. Sacred chants ring through the air over ridiculously loud speakers. Rituals and simple morning routines burst into life at the Har ki Pauri ghat outside my hotel.

So incredible to sleepily lean against the window and feel into everything happening below me. Soggy garlands of marigolds and millions of prayers float downstream while men and women and children take turns dipping themselves into the icy water. I watch as they shiver and shake but seldom hesitate to step into this holy water that will simultaneously wash away layers of dirt and karma.

I have to smile as I see a young mother wrestling with her toddler to get him to go in for his bath. From where I am sitting the essence of their struggle looks exactly like ones I have had with my kids when they were little. Of course there are the glaring differences. While my kids resisted a perfectly heated bubble and toy filled tub in a warm and cozy home, this little boy shivers in the chilly morning drizzle with hundreds of people around, knowing he is about to be dipped into the freezing water of the Ganga.

As the giant mango sun continues to rise across the river, I feel my heart stretch to hold the unfairness of life. Just then the little boy lights up and gets lost in a fit of giggles as his mama wraps him in a magnificent hug. I humbly remember that I will never ever ever come close to beginning to understand why the world is the way it is and that no matter what, love makes everything better.

Kirsten Warner