SPLASH! Into the refreshing, cleaner than expected, cool water of the Ganges on the banks of Bithoor, Kanpur.
“Here we come!”
“Slow down, the last steps are slimy.”
It is said that a dip in this holy river rids one of their sins. I’m sure that dips and salutations offered by the whole family (all 3 of the generations) together must definitely count for bonus points up there!
“Girls, the gated stairwell is ready for you to change,” hollered my brother.
“Round up girls, let’s go in, in twos.”
“Mom!!! these stairs lead up to an open-air courtyard!!” squealed my daughter.
Well, that was that. On the rugged ghats of Bithoor, also the home of Lord Brahma’s (the creator of the world) temple, on a balmy April day we offered prayers to mother Ganga and enjoyed the cool dip. It was a very serene setting this, the banks had a very rustic charm. Although the hullabaloo of people was there, it wasn’t as crowded or noisy as the usual Indian religious cities. The river was set off with lush trees on both sides, colorful homes with heavy wooden doors and thick brass links, and of course the huge steps on the banks which lead into the river. It felt more like a picnic than a pilgrimage. And to top it all off, the one announcement that all of us had been waiting for all morning . . . “The Papdi with aloo saag and hot jalebis with dahi are here!”
“Slow down, don’t fall!”
“Watch out for the rocks and pebbles beneath.”
Those warnings were a blur, as the brilliant blue-green water sparkling almost to gem-stone perfection beckoned me. SPLASH!
Well, the star cast for this adventure was the same as it had been two summers ago in Bithoor. The location however was a world apart. What?. . . it really was.
Did you think that this lot of 15 went only on pilgrimages? This trip was anything but. However, ensconced in all directions by the eye-catching beauty of Mykonos Island, I did say a quick thank you looking up at the powder blue and candy fluff sky. The beach club at Super Paradise seemed straight out of a travel show. The weather was just perfect for a fun day at the beach. The music was amping up with every song, the crowd had a very chilled out and groovy vibe. People were enjoying everything, from swimming to dancing to napping away any thought, that might intrude on this splendid setting.
“Where’s Mom, she’ll love this water!” I shouted in the direction of my sister.
“Still recovering somewhere from the car ride here, either that or the party and the lightly clad revellers are too hot for her, ” she laughed, winking at me, while building a not so perfect sand castle with our nephew.
“We have the 3 best drivers money can’t buy, what’s to worry?”
“I think that it was the steep incline.”
“I think that our beloved chauffeurs actually saved the day.”
“Did some one just call me a chauffeur?” asked my brother feigning hurt.
Mykonos is a gorgeous Greek Island surrounded by the Aegean blue of the Aegean Sea. The snow-white buildings adorned with sprinkles of magenta bougainvillea and colorful shutters line the meandering streets. Most of the pretty town looks fake, almost like a movie set, but then the fresh aromas wafting from a local bakery or a peep from a grandma, drying her clothes on a brightly colored balcony reminds one that these strawberries and cream huddles are very much real. The cobbled streets of old town and the colorful shops and cafes of Matoyianni Street are fun to explore. The famed white Mykonos Windmills, which are perched on a rocky landscape are every bit as picture-worthy as they are known to be.
Most of the roads however are steep slopes, many seemingly with almost 60-degree inclines. That’s where our tiny zip cars (3 of them as we were 15 of us) needed a lot of tenacity and skill from our drivers, our doting men of the family.
“We should probably start packing up.”
“Maa, the party is just starting!” I pointed out.
“Exactly! The kids are here too and it’s a very colorful beach!”
This ignited peels of laughter from all of us, Dad in particular, “If they can chill in the Ganges with me, they can and will enjoy in Mykonos with me.”
pictures courtesy; 123rf.com, viator.com, mykonosyellow.com