As I sit in a boat and traverse the crescent-shaped length of the Ganga which hugs Kashi, better known today as Varanasi, I am forced to think about death and dying. Even before I arrive at Manikarnika Ghat, I see the smoke rising in the air and know that someone is being cremated. I watch the constituents of what was once a human body rise upwards in a column. The flames dim a little and the man who guides the performance of the rituals stokes the fire so that the body burns faster.