After cruising the Ganges and watching masses of people bathe in the sacred waters I decided it couldn’t hurt to have a blessing. Our guide said he’d take us to one of the best priests in Varanasi so with Jewish guilt I had my Hindu “Bat Mitzvah”.
At the end of the blessing the “Rabbi” played a horn that sounded a lot like the Shofar. He put a bright yellow dot on my forehead so I knew I was going to be hunting for the Hindu version of Clearasil.
I closely watched the lead mourner circle his father five times. I’d once watched a friend marry an Orthodox Jew who circled her chair 7 times. She got divorced.
Instead of a fancy mahogany coffin the body was carried on what looked like a bamboo stretcher. The corpse was covered in a colorful silk garment with flowers and then dunked in the river. I was close enough to see the old man’s face but our guide said out of respect to the mourners not to take photos. I didn’t want to be an American paparazzi and besides my IPhone 8 takes fuzzy photos.
Ashes to ashes dust to dust.