Kolkata to Varanasi – 8 days
In India, one is faced with the realization that in order to survive here, you have to love human beings a lot more than the average westerner. Indians, possibly due to necessity, are blessed with an unconditional love for humanity that binds them together. There’s an affection between people here that simply doesn’t exist at home. Maybe that’s the great Indian mystery that everyone here seems to be searching for. But there’s a darker side that we would soon witness on the highway; the harsh realities of a massive population living in difficult conditions results in an almost fatalistic attitude toward death. Western cultures have an innate fear of death. In India, they embrace it. Our fear of dying means that death is hidden away, tucked neatly out of sight, forgotten. Not so in Varanasi, where bodies are publicly cremated on the bank’s of the Ganges, the sacred Mother River. And even less so on the roads, where dying becomes a public act, played out in front of the unsympathetic masses.