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Bindi Bottoms
Ganga Other, Patna

“For some I am a mother figure, for some a guide and for some little girls, a storyteller. For a 75-year-old woman, my life is a bit unconventional. I sit here, at the ghats of Ganga, everyday and people mistake me for a beggar. They are generous enough to offer me biscuits, food and sometimes money. But I don't pity myself. Instead, I feel that I am more of an entertainer, a singer, a storyteller. I accept all the things they offer as a token of love. I don’t exactly remember since when I have been coming to the ghats. This place has certainly healed my soul.

Once, I was sad about my life and had complaints and questions about losing my husband, my son’s depression, my brothers’ betrayal for my property, why I had to beg for money and what I was doing all alone at the ghats?

But when I listened to them, those people who have lost their loved ones, their career, their confidence and most of all, those who have lost all hope, I found the purpose of my life; my songs. I did not wait for answers anymore. I tune into the waves of the Ganga and try to kindle faith in their hearts . Maano to main Ganga maa hoon , naa maano to behta paani. (If you believe in me, then I am Ganga maa; if you don’t, I am merely flowing water).

My songs make people talk. Some share their problems and want a solution while others just want me to listen to their stories. I don't give them any solutions; instead I give them hope to fight all the bad times. When they say that I have awakened, nurtured or inspired them in some way, I get answers to all my questions.

I don't even remember my real name. People call me Ganga Maa. Whatever their reasons are, I have accepted and assimilated the name within me. It is a symbol of love they have for me.

From 5 to 10 in the morning, I sit here, talk to people, listen to their stories and give them love and hugs. I had no idea that I would find happiness after having lost everything I had.

The people whom I meet everyday say that I am theirs. I am no guide; I just share some stories from my life, my failures and my lessons with them. I have learnt that one can fight any adversity in life with faith.

I am ready to come here and talk to as many people as I can till I take my last breath. We share an unbreakable bond because we are not judgemental of each other. We are one, like a song which is made by putting together a lot of beautiful words.”


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