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Across the Ganga

02 Nov Across the Ganga

This Activity Week, Grade 8 ventured out for a week-long rafting expedition down the upper reaches of the Ganga. Student Asha shares her experience of their adventure in this poem.

volleyball and hikes,

swimming in a clear blue sky

first few days

pass

as we stay in carefree paradise

sleeping with half-roofs over our head,

playing empires in the cafeteria

free from school, free from worry,

hours blurring into each other

two nights, a minute

feel the rush of air

the bus is pulling in

these hours we feel,

one, two, three, four

half-asleep, yet we can’t rest

anticipation grows faster than the wind can run

hot sun beating down

we’ve reached our destination

sand curls between

toes, burn the skin, do we care?

pulsating rays striking faces

when do we get in the water?

we view the green-blue, sandy-fresh

rolling river,

let us ride along you

and we step in the rafts, awkwardly

clutching paddles, blue or gray plastic

the only support we have

as water churns with fiery contempt

paddle, forward, back,

we might not all be perfect

but we’re making progress

some immerse themselves

in the motions

others let the current take over, let

the moment last

just a little bit longer

couple hours of cool water

we’re all soaking wet

did we say we cared?

raucous laughter fills the beach

where we stop for lunch

back on the water, forever ends

in just a minute

we’ll make it last longer

setting up tents on a new beach

every night, we’re nomads this week, our home

is ourselves

sand collects in hair, in clothes, in tents

in sleeping bags

all we wish for is one hot shower, a mattress and a pillow

and for this to never end

but as the sun rises on Saturday

third night on the river comes to a close

we pack up our sleeping bags for the last time

and raft once again

today it’s new

rapids, the ones we’ve been waiting for all week

some we walk around,

wishing we could be riding them

but others are a rollercoaster of

laughter and high-pitched screams and spray

from this holy river

and on the last beach we sit

some are overjoyed

now their only dream

is to be home

another bus rolls in

they’ll get their wish soon

as voices lower to soft murmurs,

as sand turns to city blends to forest blurs to fields

and back again,

as a neon red sun sets over a thousand landscapes

we reach home.

Asha, Class of 2024

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