EST. 2009

April 29, 2010

That Aqueous Transmission

SOMEONE WAS PLAYING INCUBUS' AQUEOUS TRANSMISSION AT WORK YESTERDAY and it took me back to 2002, when I had first heard the song, playing from a CD my friend Lara received from one of her then suitors.

Hearing it again on a slow, hot weekday afternoon brings to mind images of water. Warm. Asia, maybe India. Spicy, wanton winds. A golden sky mirrored by muddy waters.

Just as I had pictured, the river Ganges as photographed by Mike Wright.

Considered sacred by the Hindus, the river is personified as a goddess, Ganga. Bathing in the river is believed to bring one remission of sins, as well as liberation from the cycle of life and death. Upon death of a kin, scattering of the ashes in the Ganges is also common practice as it is believed that in doing so, the ashes will go to heaven.

The national river of India, central to its history and culture from ages past, is now also one of the dirtiest rivers in the world, having been dubbed by The Economist as a "brown soup of excrement and industrial effluents."

Like many things that have lived to see a people's story unfold, throughout the flourishing of civilization, the diffusion of spiritual veneration, the rise and fall of empires great and small, the story of the Ganges is a beautiful tragedy. Especially because I will never in my lifetime see it as it was in its breathtaking glory.

The visual invites me, but I fear for my poor little extra-sensitive nose!

Ganges River, Varnasi India in 1983 from Mike Wright's Flickr Photostream,