There is an Indian demigod living amongst mortals in Varanasi, at Janki Ghat, along the banks of the Ganges. He is 13 years old and his name is Rahul.
Rahul gets up at 4 am every morning, reads school work for one hour, has a “shower” (a ceremonial wash, puja, in the Ganges) then touts sunrise boat-ride customers for his uncle, has breakfast, goes to school until 4 pm, touts and rows for customers until 8 pm, then does his schoolwork and revises for exams until 11 pm. He wants to be a doctor.
This regime would break most, young and old, but Rahul is incorrigibly cheery and a joy to be with, and has both a business sense and wit to match Armando Iannucci and Deborah Meaden’s lovechild.
In India, these superhuman qualities can mean only one thing. Rahul is clearly descended from the Hindu pantheon, and must be an avatar, one of its 3,000,000 gods.
Other posts in this series: Passages from India.
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