So much effort for very few kilometres today.
But at least I left Varanasi and immersed myself in a more rural India – that of shepherds, of hemp pickers, of the teenagers playing on the river and of villages so isolated from each other that inhabitants are almost unable to understand their neighbours’ dialect.
Although slower than expected, I finally found a good current which I hope I can now count on for the next few days. Today, I allowed myself a little break for a moment and it was only the shouting of some kids playing in the water which woke me up.
My arrival in a small village was more incredible than I could have imagined because, just as I was coming in, there was a cremation ceremony going on with dozens of people attending.
The experience of watching a cremation is particularly strong here because the deceased is cremated in the open air – in front of everyone’s eyes – and the ashes are then dispersed in the water.
I felt I had interrupted a sacred ceremony, but perhaps I was the only one who was embarrassed – the other people just seemed incapable of understanding that a man could find sailing this raft fun!
One of the onlookers appeared to think of my venture ‘life is already difficult enough as it is. Now please tell me why you want to make it more complicated.’