Near the village where I was born, just ten miles away, every year there used to be a very big religious fair, by the side of the river Narmada. That is one of the sacred religious rivers in India. Perhaps it is the most sacred, for a mythological reason, because all other rivers are married – only Narmada is still virgin….
There is a beautiful place where Narmada comes out of the mountains and falls in a beautiful waterfall to reach the ground. I have seen many waterfalls but that waterfall has some uniqueness of its own. It is a very black stone, extraordinarily black, ugly…and the Narmada falls in one thousand currents. It is not one fall, it is one thousand falls; it is the whole mountain.
Because of those one thousand rocks that the Narmada has cut, there is a mythology thousands of years old. There was a very monstrous king. He wanted to marry Narmada because, he said, “All rivers are already married. In my kingdom, I cannot allow Narmada to remain unmarried.”
So he went to marry Narmada. But because of the purity of virginity…a curse from Narmada turned him into stone. Those one thousand rocks are nothing but one thousand hands of that monster. He wanted to grab Narmada from everywhere; she’s still falling out of those stone hands.
So a very beautiful fair happens every year. I wanted to see those one thousand hands, and how Narmada managed to remain virgin for millions of years. You will be surprised that the land where Narmada flows is the ancientmost land in the world. It came first out of the ocean – because in the mountainous regions from where Narmada comes, you can still find, very easily, dead sea animals. And from Narmada, the sea is thousands of miles away. Certainly one day the mountain was under the ocean, and then the ocean receded and the first piece of earth came out of ocean. It is the most ancient part of the earth.
I wanted to see the most ancient mountain…but I knew that if I asked my parents, they would say no. The place is dangerous because of all those rocks; many people have died. The whole river is full of rocks and to swim in it is dangerous, and they had said to me, “You will not be able to resist the temptation of swimming there.”
So I did not ask them, I simply went. They were very much concerned…reported to the police, sent a few people to look around, inquired at the railway station, the bus station where I had been seen last. But they could not find me. After three days, I came back. They were really angry. They said, “Where have you been?”
I said, “Where? I have been to the fair.”
They said, “You should have at least asked us.”