A look at life in and around the Yamuna

Quiet flows the Yamuna. A sacred stream for a million people. Then some more. For many, it is just a trickle of polluted water which transforms itself into a river during the monsoon. Then Yamuna is like a playful girl, now teasing the banks, now eluding them, now cheerful, now naughty. Otherwise, the river goes quiet, almost in morbid fear of being admonished if it were to make anything more than ripples. Yet quietly, unobtrusively, and often unknown even to the denizens of Delhi, life goes on around the Yamuna, on its ghats, on its often sullied waters. Every evening, the faithful gather for a pooja, an aarti, sprinkling marigold petals on its waters. Every morning, as the believers cross the Old Yamuna bridge near ISBT or the new one leading to ITO, some stop their vehicle for a few seconds, offer a coin in obeisance and move on. Others just slow down their cars or bikes, take a quick bow and move on. The river accepts them all.

At other places though, the things are not as serene or pious. There are stretches of lather arising out of the pollutants dumped into the river. There are others where frenetic construction takes away from the timelessness of the river. Again, the Yamuna flows on, impervious to the challenges, confident that she, named after the sister of the Deity of Death, can overcome them all.