Thursday, December 1, 2011

doors of the past...

Walking on the streets of Banaras is never a dull moment. A lot of chaos ... all kinds of people belonging to different centuries brush shoulders with each other and talk in different languages. Still understanding each other. Some quadrupeds pushing through the human types or chasing them. We were walking towards pizzeria one day when we saw a foreigner running with his fancy running shoes on , with a steady speed meandering through the maze of all the centuries walking on the narrow lane. A dog got curious and started following him with a warning bark. That guy who was wearing smart looking running gear, stopped , bent down, picked up a stone and gestured to hit the dog ....The dog stopped , stepped back and the foreigner resumed his run.

Both of us( Arvind and me) were smiling seeing this how each one on the road is conditioned to this kind of chaos and  everything goes on with a smooth precision.

I found this door on the same street which leads to Assi ghat starting from Nagwa , where we saw the dog chase ...there is something to stop and gaze every few steps .... or I am an eternal romantic....who knows better :-)

Many foreigners live in this side of the town as they come and settle down for studies and for spiritual reasons too. My favorite authors Robert Pirsig and Inez Baraney have lived and walked in these streets of Banaras and i feel a connect when i read their stories. Many of the Hindi laureates have lived in this city and their stories are full of life, a timelessness is what i witness in their works. This city and it's streets are timeless. Modern and ancient exist together and meld together like they were born here... together.

This interesting door was closed and looked like as if the building is abandoned. But i saw one of the doors ajar when we were walking back from pizzeria . Someone certainly lives inside this historical looking home.

There was a sliding iron gate inside this frail damaged yet strong old wooden door to indicate someone has made it habitable for a modern life. Or a life hung between centuries.

Or a timeless life.

This is the feeling i always get whenever i visit the areas around the ghats... there is a certain rhythm in the life in this place which cannot be explained in words. You have to spend an evening on the ghats of Ganges to experience that.

Doors is the topic of today's Thursday challenge and when i saw it on Bikram's blog i was just reminded of this old wooden door from a timeless street in Banaras.

I really want to visit many more old cities of India as the few i have visited till now seem to be having the same kind of soul. A sense of belonging , a sense of being connected and a sense of walking through the same doors we get in such cities...


  1. you know we built a new house in village , the old house is till there and it has Exactly same doors, well look like these ones , big huge one and whic hsquares .. bronze strips ...
    reminded me of home


  2. Beautiful doors!!!! And what an adorable post! I wish the doors could be maintained and polished or painted and used with the iron grill on the other side, but all the beauty and grandeur of these old, wooden doors preserved.

  3. this is such a beautiful soulful post!
    loved it!

  4. Lovely!
    These are such great shots.

  5. the 1st shot speaks a thousand words! gorgeous take. and loved what you wrote about the old cities. very apt. am glad you are capturing all this for posterity. :) hope this rhythm stays on forever. don't know if that's wishful thinking...

  6. U r so rt abt the old cities! Timeless life indeed :)
    Lovely take on the prompt!

  7. Something about the spirituality of old cities make them come alive and remain so -- ageless and soulful. Could feel the empathy you felt with the timeless city of Varanasi.

  8. This is one of the things I dream of to do someday. Roam around in old cities and soak in the timelessness of it all.

    I love the way your photos are coming up now. Did you get a new camera?

  9. Thanks everybody for the encouraging words.

    @ Sakshi...the camera is the same old point and shoot with only 3x optical zoom. Planning to buy a good one soon. More for the birds who visit me here in my jungle garden :-)

  10. Really Good Post!!

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  11. Doors is definitely an interesting theme and you have come up with awe-inspiring photos and narrative. The first snap is really remarkable for its composition per se. Second one has a different and interesting story to tell...The modern supporting and reinforcing the fragile ancient

  12. Some Doors,
    with double planks
    nailed across,
    the rooms
    dark and suffocating,
    damp and emersed
    in centuries of depression.

    Some doors,
    with a willful design
    harking back
    to a time
    the man
    and his girl wife
    emerged across the threshhold
    a timid seven steps
    into a carriage
    going to the temple.

    And some doors,
    so loaded with
    the weight
    of old memories,
    regardless of
    artless plaster,
    cement and sand covers,
    the bricks
    crowd, nudge and push each other,
    blinking in the light,
    trying to be
    part of the new world,
    yet taking care
    that the locked main door
    doesnt frown
    on their wayward antics......

  13. Thank you so much Suranga...Loved every line.

    Those lahori bricks are very peculiar and date back to mughal times...and this design of the door is very common in many parts of North India. But what the doors enclose behind is a matter altogether different in every case :)

  14. I love Varanasi too!!

    My mother hails from Allahabad, and my aunt used to live in Varansi. I have been in those parts of the country often in my childhood.

  15. Simply love it... Your Camera Rock !!!

  16. Oh Thank you VJ ... a compliment coming from a professional photographer made my day :-)

  17. Ahh viewing these photos have made me nostalgic! They brought back some nic ememories of all those years I have spent in Varanasi; a great city that has a style of its own. I have known may houses with such ancient looking doors that are equpped with all sort of latest technologies; computer, microwave, entertainment centers, etc. Even back then (~ 11 years ago) I used to find it amazing! Very nice post Sangeeta.

  18. Thank you Arch...Yes, the city embraces modernity very naturally without giving up all that is so ancient and makes the soul of the city.