Home Bookend - Where reading meets review Kaleidoscope City: A Year in Varanasi by Piers Moore Ede

Kaleidoscope City: A Year in Varanasi by Piers Moore Ede

by Venky


A poignant and mesmerising work that captures the myriad patois of a city considered by many Indians to be the holiest of places on Earth. Benaras, Varanasi or Kashi is home to the imperial sweep and magnificent scope of the Ganges. Benaras is also home to a whole spectrum of vertiginous culture that both scars as well as soothes an unsuspecting entrant to the city. Piers Moore Ede was drawn to this mystical place and soon succumbed to the riveting pull exercised by its elements. His fascination towards Benaras was such that he spent an entire year in a contradictory environment of warm solace and harsh reality.

This work captures his stay in Benaras alternatively cjaracterised by fervour, faith, fascination, fatigue and futility. Piers Moore Ede strives to illuminate in an uncompromising fashion the complicated fabric of culture that weaves together multiple races, castes and religions. A fabric where the sacred merges seamlessly and shamelessly with the seedy; a setting where the chances of accosting either an enthusiastic Sadhu or an enervated prostitute are mind bogglingly equal. Seekers of salvation jostle and rub shoulders with solicitors of sex, while peddlers of the most exquisite varieties of fruits share space with purveyors of cannabis and marijuana. The various Ghats of the Ganges which teem with people performing ablutions and burning corpses lends an eerie credence to the impermanence of human existence. Benaras is at once temporal and permanent. This fascinating paradox gets a deserving treatment at the hands of this author who seems to have found himself in a strenuous quest to find the soul of a City whose existence is a veritable testimony to a cathartic mankind!

Kaleidoscope City – An unforgettable splash of colour!

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