Legs are aching. Body is tired. Destination is few kilometres away. It starts raining. Mind is in trance. Will power carries you till destination. You sleep in temples, trucks, homes or in the open. That ends today. Tomorrow is another walk, another journey and another destination. You have to manage logistics of food for your group, or rely on kind donors. You have to manage ablutions sans privacy. You have to face hardships for 20 odd days. This is picture of Wari which you will think is negative. But hold on for a moment. Let me complete my word picture of Wari. The physical discomfort is what makes Wari a super devotional and highly emotional experience. It is the supreme devotion to ‘Vitthal: the almighty’ that carries you through. The eternal and divine rhythm of ‘Gynba- Tukaram’ drives out pain from your body, gives extreme bliss all through your walk. Mind and soul search for self enlightenment. At the end of the walk many people experience this bliss , get new perspective of own life for whole year. This experience is what will bring you again next year. That’s why it is called Wari.
June ended with a win in Champions Trophy promising new dawn in Indian cricket and as we were busy with relief work for Uttarakhand, one of old school friend pinged on whats app. She was asking if anyone is interested to walk from Alandi to Pune with Wari. It started with that and all five friends who gathered that day at odd hour of 3am on 1st July, were destined to experience Wari this year for first time in our lives. I used to feel Wari to be over glorified show of devotion and devotees gathering for free food for 20 days and enjoy celebrity status during the Wari and after that in their community. How wrong I was? The hardships you face cannot drive you here next year and again year after year in most cases in spite of these free food and social status motivations. It has to be devotion coupled with a quest for those religiously minded souls which drives the Wari. And believe me it’s an experience to be a part of that. It was the walk of my life. I used to do lot trekking. I have walked long distances. I have experienced feel of climbing atop a fort or reaching trek destination. That joy is different from what i felt after taking darshan of Nivdungya and Palkhi Vithoba temples in Pune. These temples are camping points in Pune for the palkhis. I had new kind of real realization and have added few new perspectives. This is something personal and i am sure anyone who has experienced it will know. For those who have not, let me recommend to experience it at least once in life. This experience has made me convinced to repeat next leg of Wari from Pune to Saswad next year. With renewed focus on fitness and self discipline i am sure will make that happen. Vithu mauli will take care of the rest.
We assembled at 3 after my friends driver picked all of us up. We went till Alandi via Moshi. We took darshan of temple and started our walk. It was raining and the mud had created swamps. Wari Trucks and tempos lined one side of narrow road making walk bit tricky and risky amidst darkness. This went on say for 4-5 kms by the time we reached Sai temple. It was bright by then. After that the walk with other Warkaris was comfortable. We had a ringan dance at dighi. It was some experience. Ladies in our group had planned food parcels which kept us energized whole day.
We reached Vishrantwadi for first major break at Joshi wade wale for Tea/Coffee. And you never run of topics and fun with old friends whom you know since your kindergarten for more than three and half decades. After reaching Yerawada, the legs started talking for me. Each step was challenge that’s where the journey really started. I could visualize the whole new bridge to cross and then to reach COEP and then Deccan. Felt like a long ordeal. Friends were motivating. But then they cannot lift you. Only Vitthal can. Felt like abandoning at Deccan where we had lunch at Roopali. But friends convinced to complete whole leg till Nana Peth temples walking whole Laxmi road. It all ended there with logistics arranged to help drive back till home.
Believe me guys this was a walk of life filled with devotion and some new realizations. I will be back next year....
Author runs a blog http://nayakgiri.blogspot.com