I dashed out early this morning with the intention of returning to Mr Bal Krishna’s silk factory on Lal Ghat, only to be roundly butted by a goat and instantly floored. No damage was done, fortunately. And there was no commotion around the incident at all. Indians went about their business entirely disinterested. Not even one smirk at the sight of a black-clad English woman flailing around in the dust. Bravely, I dusted myself down and continued on my way, but decided the goat—which was invisible by the way, I just felt it, I didn’t see it—was a sign that I shouldn’t venture too far from home. Or at least, the Groovy Ganges Guesthouse, where I’m staying.
So, instead of visiting the Mehrosta Silk Factory to order cushion covers (‘kushan’ in Indian English), I went to the Baba Black Sheep shop, which is only fifteen minutes walk, inland behind Kedar Ghat. The owner was nice, but he didn’t have such a great selection of silk and the experience felt a little flat after Mr Bal Krishna’s warm hospitality. But perhaps it was just that kind of day. A day when accidents happen, shit smells stinkier, rubbish on the streets is piled higher and more men than usual choose the moment I am passing to turn to the wall and piss while staring straight at me. India.
After I left Baba Black Sheep, I wandered in the backstreets of the Ghat and happened upon a temple with the most marvellous roof (below). Then made my way along mother Ganga to Assi Ghat, where I met a long line of Indian women wearing yellow cardboard visers and sashes, who were lining up to make some kind of political protest. They were so beautiful and light-hearted that they lifted my spirits before I made my way back to my concrete room. I wish English women—white women in general—didn’t look so silly in saris.