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Mauli

By Kalamwali in Experiences
Updated 16:08 IST Jul 15, 2016

Views » 120 | 4 min read

My most initial memories associated to the Palki or the Wari are from school days. I remember, the schools declared a half day due to the road blocks on the day the Palki crossed Pune city. And then the first holiday after schools reopening on Ashaadi Ekadashi. But apart from that I was as unaware of the whole concept and the reason behind it, just as a child is, of why he must go to school. Over the years I have only marked these days as days to avoid stepping out and as days to eat “Upaasacha” at friends’ homes.

But last year I came to know of a few friends and their families who have been very closely associated to the whole spiritualism behind walking the Wari and taking Darshan of the Palki. After each of my initial conversations with them over this, I kept wondering why must they be doing this? What drove them to do it? What is it that they really achieve from this grueling task, year after year? And each time, the conversation ended with, “you won’t know it until you experience it”. And each time I would tell myself, “well it’s not even my religion” and cringed at myself for having thought that way after 5 minutes.  

So after a year of occasional Wari conversations, I thought, maybe I should give it a shot and decided to accompany these friends for one patch of the Wari. I chose to do Alandi-Pune with them, which is approximately 21 kms. It was a splendid experience. Something that words can’t do justice to. But this article isn’t about me and my Wari experience. It’s about the emotion behind walking the Wari.  

There are a lot of people who write about the Warkaris and their struggle, effort, devotion and journey, but I choose to write about the civils. People like you and me. People who have everything they want and need. Well almost. And still, with all their heart and soul, challenge themselves to do something that’s beyond the usual rigmarole of life, each year.

Walking the Wari is probably one of the toughest goals to set and achieve for Urbans like us. The Wari patch is approximately 232 kms, from Alandi to Pandharpur, which the Warkaris cover over the span of 14-15 days. Urbans like these friends though, cover the same distance in half the days walking alternate days covering double the distance that the Warkaris do, daily.

As if this isn’t challenging enough, they walk irrespective of the heat, rains, bad roads, road blocks, personal discomfort, health issues, work pressure, family obligations, social temptations and what not. There are injuries, blisters, tiredness, but nothing disturbs their spirit. In fact, most of them do not even delve in physical activities through the year but end up walking an average of 30-35 kilometers each time they set out, during the Wari. Surprisingly, they all look comfortable, happy, satisfied and carry an unassuming smile.

This smile, this happiness, this satisfaction is probably what drives them. Its times like these when there’s almost unbearable physical discomfort that bring them closer to themselves. I don’t think they have a personal agenda or some agreement with god. There is almost no propaganda in their pursuit and that, I feel is a great way to practice or preach a belief in today’s time and age. We need to put our faith in something to feel ethically inclined and probably this what it is, for them. Not to forget the rhythmic chanting of Mauli Mauli or Gyaanbaa Tukaram that keeps them going.

One day and 21 kilometers haven’t given me enough to ponder upon and express about my journey, but it did test my physical aptness and will power. This to begin with, is a good sign I assume hoping to bring a more insightful Wari experience year on year from now!

- Kalamwali

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