On the Balcony
Agra Travel Blog› entry 25 of 41 › view all entries
Chris and I spent a lot of time on the balcony relaxing, writing post cards, or planning our days while sipping chai and ogling the neighborhood . India was full of intrigue, even at night. As we huddled around a cow chip, burning warm and smoky on our balcony, we noticed the soft jingle of rhythmic bells on the street below. Camels loaded with cargo lapped water from a trough next door, just below our balcony while their drivers checked-in at a government office across the street. The scene resembled a caravan version of a western truck stop without jake brakes or diesel fumes.
Nearby shopkeepers swept their floors and eatery kings scrubbed pots and pans while donkeys, sacred cows, and dogs foraged street-side trash and garbage.
But not all of the dead were cremated. The lowest Class of the Hindu sect: beggars, lepers, and those with polio or smallpox, were said to be unworthy of burning. Their remains were constrained in rickety wooden frames, rowed out to the middle of the river, and disposed of like a burial at sea. Often, those corpses washed ashore downstream in various stages of decomposition - in the same waters the living used to bathe and drink.