Those were summers of 2009 when we planned a complete family trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh. Traveling for us is always about making memories and especially when the trip is with parents, siblings and all kids of the family. My brother lives in Delhi with my parents and I and all my sisters gathered at his place with our kids.
Going on a trip with so many kids was like electronic shop going along, sooo many chargers for everything. Their high level energy, excitement was actually working as chargers for us. We were 16 people in all heading towards the shrine Haridwar through a bus.
The highlight of the trip was simply the sacred river Ganga. Since our parents were with us, our whole emphasis was more on religious significance and the major agendas of the trip was bathing in the holy river Ganga, attending the famous Aarti on ‘Har Ki Pauri’ Ghat of Ganga, Visiting famous temples like ‘Chandi Devi’ and ‘Mansha Devi’ temples, and clicking pictures on ‘Laxman Jhula’ at Rishikesh.
We were all very excited for the bus journey as most of our kids were travelling by bus for the first time, but the travel was a complete let down. The roads from Delhi-Haridwar were below average at that time. The only source of entertainment in the bus was the troupe of Hijras from Ajmer traveling with us. They were singing and dancing in their typical styles. I would like to mention here that they were very lively and nice people with soft and loving hearts. They were playing with our kids, offering them sweets and our kids had a lot of fun with them. Hijra” is a term for a particular form of transgendered person and are often disrespected in India but after spending a quality time with them, I now respect them wholeheartedly.
Well, we reached Haridwar by evening and got ready to go for the auspicious Ganga Arti at ‘Har Ki Pauri’ ghat. We reached there on time and attended the spectacular aarti done by the sages. I did not exactly attended the aarti; rather, I was mesmerized with the people participating in the aarti and saw the holy river lit up with a beautiful golden glow from the lamps.
It was all a mela-like atmosphere at the Ghat. Some people were sitting on the steps of the Ghat witnessing the holy Ganga Aarti, and there were local vendors selling incense sticks, oil lamps and flowers for the aarti.
Since it was Ganga Dussera that day, there were pilgrims from all over India to be immersed in the Ganga and witness the Aarti. The whole ambiance was ecstatic giving me a feeling that we all were family.
After the Aarti, we went to the local market at the Ghat to look for some good food and to buy some local artifacts. It was very crowded market and then I got a call on my phone. It was a local vendor who called me to tell me that my 7 yrs old son was with him. I skipped a breath and looked back to check him and yes my son was missing.
It was the most terrible moment of the trip, I started crying and all of the family members go to know that Divyansh (my son) was missing. Suddenly all joy vanished and everyone got worried and kids started crying. The voice of ‘Hello’ ‘Hello’ brought me back to my senses.
It was the guy on the phone. I gained my breaths and asked him who is he, when and how he got my son and so many other questions. The guys replied “ Didi, daro mat. Apka beta mere paas hai, main police chauki ke paas khada hu. Aap aa jao”. [Sister, relax, Your son is with me and I am standing near police station, please come and pick your son].
The tears were rolling down my eyes like anything and I ran towards the police station in the Ghat. A small boy with many flower garlands in his hands were holding my son’s hand with his little fingers.
I caressed my son, kissed him endlessly and then caressed that little boy. He might be around 12 yrs old. I offered him a 1000 Rs note but he refused saying that I am like a mother to him and he can’t take money. His words brought even more tears to my eyes and I gave too many blessings and left with my son.
The trip to Haridwar was actually a “Jodey Dilon Ko” trip and made me believe firmly that we all are family. This was my only trip which fits best to the criteria of blogging contest by Zindagi Indiblogger Meet by Zindagi TV.
The Hijras in our bus, the pilgrims on the Ghat attending holy aarti and lastly the little boy who saved my son are all my family and will be in my heart forever. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” would be the correct phrase to define it.