The Kumbh Mela

I have always wanted to go to the Kumbh Mela. I console myself that this is just the Ardh Kumbh Mela, the real one is to come in 6 years. Why do I want to go to the Kumbh Mela so much ? I am not religious…


… but because I want to feel a total sense of loss of Individuality. Being just one insiginificant one amongst a huge mass of millions can be a humbling experience. Living here in London, directing movies, always being some one, always being written about. All this imposes a sense of self importance that has become a heavy burden I carry. I want desperately to be free of it. But so difficult to let go.
I watched on CNN and although they were extremely respectful of the Mela, they did consitently mention the hazards of pollution when upto 12 million people congregate on the banks of the rivers. Especially when they are drinking the same waters in which 12 million people are bathing and whatever else.
But why does everyone not get sick then ? I have never heard of an epidemic that has been swelled by the Kumbh Mela ?
Is it true then, that such faith and belief can counter any disease that you may pick up ?
Many years ago I went to Amarnath. There is a particularily steep stretch which will test the best athletes. Yet I saw old people, sick people, people who should have been in wheelchairs climb that stretch invoking the Gods to help them in their journey.
I must go to the Maha Kumbh Mela in 6 years.

4 Responses to “The Kumbh Mela”

  1. Tushar says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    You have brought pleasant memories. I had the chance of taking a dip in the Ganges at Haridwar whilst on a trip with friends. The moment, that very moment, when I took my head out of the water after getting totally immersed in it.. That moment will always remain with me. I saw hoardes & hoardes of people & suddenly felt like being on a different plane with them, the sound of the drums, constant ringing of bells & a surreal feeling of being where one should be! I might also add that it was quite like the moment when I was about to drown off the coast at Jollybuoy island, Andaman & Nicobar when I drifted beyond the safety of Coral reefs.

  2. SKPeta says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    Yes that’s interesting! May be faith is such a medicine that cures worst of problems!

  3. Nikita says:

    Faith can be silly and pleasantly surprising at the same time. I guess its the infinite search for happiness that makes path for the oldest to cross steep slopes in amarnath or dip their soul in chilly ganges with lakhs of other people. How can I forget the sweet water madness at mahim creek that happened a few months back? Well, that again was a hope for a better life for the frustrated lot…although whatever they were thinking while drinking that I wonder!

  4. Nadeem Uddin says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    I made a documentary about Kumbh in 2004. Love to hear your reponse.
    Best,
    Nadeem Uddin

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