Mother India - Lucknow to Varanasi PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Saturday, 11 April 2009 11:13
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Day 41: Friday 2nd November - Lucknow to Varanasi

Left the hotel after a good breakfast and made our way as every morning through the congestion and smog of the city this time past Marks and Sparks and McDonalds. Amazing even the main dual carriageway taking us out of the city suddenly broke down into a series of potholes, deviations and chaos. I am beginning to think this country is the arsehole of the world: the most appalling infrastructure, poverty, rubbish and street sellers and it is the latter that are getting me down.
Can Varanasi be any different? I very much doubt it. We arrived to find street rubbish everywhere, stinking open sewers, human deprivation of all kinds and congestion to rival anywhere else on this sub continent. In the middle of all this was our hotel an absolute haven of peace and tranquility. The front was very ordinary and quite modern but once inside the walled grounds everything was calm and tranquil. The central area was green grass with a path running through the middle with borders of terracotta pots being painted by an elderly gardner squatting as he moved from one to the other. At the far end of the path was a 1920s white colonnaded building containing the dining room, massaging parlors and a swimming pool to the rear. To the right of this building was a little gem of another white building but probably 19th Century. Unfortunately it didn't seem to be in use but was the focal point of the garden complex.

On arriving we were ushered into the dinning room for a buffet. As soon as the food was finished the lads quickly made for the swimming pool and after settling in to our room we made our way out into the garden for a drink and some relaxation.

We decided to take the advice of those who had participated in Istanbul and have a massage. I once had a group of young students at Shirecliffe College who regularly went to the massage parlour down by Hillfort Bridge in Sheffield and drank cans of beer whilst watching match of the day with some young ladies' hands gently and erotically doing the business. I wasn't expecting match of the day, after all this is India, but the half naked young lad shouldn't have been a such a shock.

The ritual was carefully performed. Firstly I had to strip off down to my underpants. Then he tied a piece of string round my waist and then placed a long thin piece of muslin gorse hanging it from the string and covering the main bits. He then asked me to take off my underpants and carefully placed the bottom part of the gorse under my testicles and wrapped the end over the string above my bottom.. At this point I felt and looked like a fat bellied Amazon Indian who had lost his canoe. Once he'd got me horizontal on the table he covered me in nice smelling oils and began to work my skin. For such a slight person he had incredible strength in his arms and begun trying to pull my arms from their sockets and had I not been sober and awake I would have been convinced he'd succeeded. After twenty minutes on the front he turned me over and set about my back, bottom and shoulders after first gently removing the muslin from its string holder. For one solitary moment I felt more vulnerable than any day since my birth. Another twenty minutes and I was in the shower trying to wash away the essence of India. Anne's experience was similar but of course her masseur was a woman. 

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 April 2009 20:05