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Hampi: A Rocking Affair

Posted by Gaurav Banerjee on Apr 20,2021

Hampi ruins

In Hampi, there are rocks. Mile after mile of boulders carelessly tossed across the terrain, like line after line of blank verse: free flowing, without rhythm or rhyme, with a directness and honesty otherwise obscured by poetic devices. Boulders which jut into the horizon as if marking trails left by discordant notes on the equalizer, a music that is at once alarmingly haphazard and soothingly serene.

For in Hampi, there are only rocks.

It all started off as an attempt to escape the flashbulbs of the cars and the wails of the horns in Bombay. The sea had lost its tranquility, the buildings had lost their sheen, the people had lost their novelty. It was time for a change of scene. I had never been the sort to revel in places renowned for their beauty, as all I had experienced at such places could only be described as a copy of a copy. An emotion that had been neatly packaged and fed to me over the course of years. But then a friend mentioned Hampi.

For in Hampi, there were only rocks.

The other side, people called it. Leave the ruins, cross the river, and enter a new world, they said. And they couldn’t have been more accurate. Cross the river and you find, in the words of Alexander Pope, “the world forgetting by the world forgot”. A forgotten world trying to forget the world it left behind on the other side of the river. The touristy gossip died out, the constant badgering of the shop-keepers petered away, and as the motor on the boat sputtered its last tired breath, you could actually inhale the silence. And then you walked on and saw the rocks.

Huge boulders, unabashed by their size, unapologetic for their severity, lay scattered all over the land like discarded pawns in a chess game for giants. Everything seemed to be in a state of delicate imbalance. Move an inch too far or scream a tad too loud and the world gives way as the rocks come crashing down, finally abandoning their frail supports that had inexplicably held them in place for thousands of years. It was almost as if they demanded silence as they loomed ominously over the horizon, carving up that mythical union of land and sky with their harshness and severity. And under the shadow of this imminent threat, the raucous human was finally tamed. To finally listen to a voice other than his own.

What I did there, is inconsequential. What I saw there, even more so. Hampi is a beauty that is far removed from the original prototype of what beauty should be, which is what makes its beauty so unpredictable and so personal at the same time. Like poetry without a poet, it lies undefined till a poet without poetry comes and makes it his verse. Like a song without a singer, it remains a hollow echo till a singer without a song comes and makes it his muse. And those who leave unmoved are free to find paradise in places more conducive. Without being questioned, without being judged.

For in Hampi, there are only rocks.

Gaurav Banerjee

(This bio has been written by the blog administrator till the time Gaurav submits us one on his own) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "One day when a truck will run over the heartwarming yet awkward bulk of Gaurav Banerjee and squash the bejesus out of his kidneys, the world will remember him for his powerful singing, command over theatre and his rockstar looks, traitsthat made hundreds of women go weak in the knees for him. However, we, his friends, will still affectionately talk of his absolute lack of skill on a sports field or any iota of grace on a dance floor." - NN

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