Varanasi

This image was taken at the Dasawamedh ghat (bank) in Varanasi.  Every evening, pilgrims gather in their hundreds to pay reverence to the River Ganga at the spectacular puja that happens at this important Ghat. Once the evening puja is finished, the activity at this Ghat slows down, that is until Michael and his friends gather at the well-lit Ghat for their nightly game of cricket. For a couple of hours this most unlikely of sporting arenas becomes a cricketing amphitheatre. As is the case with tens of thousands of cricket games played in the streets of India, everything is improvised, starting from the ball they use to the boundaries of the field of play, the wickets and sometimes even their bats. Because they don’t have a lot of space to play with, they use a very light but tough plastic ball that does not travel a great distance despite the effort that Michael and his friends put into each swing. Also, playing by a riverbank means they need to come equipped with plenty of spare plastic balls, everyday they would lose a couple of them to the Ganga. This particular day however, they got lucky. One of their lusty blows conveniently landed in a nearby tethered boat. The same boats that ferry pilgrims and tourists to the various bank of the holy city during the day. I took this picture when Michael volunteered to retrieve that ball.

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