Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Taj

We’ve been told about many spectacles in life and when we finally come face to face with one, we feel a sense of elation. I’ve felt that elation before when I saw a rainbow for the first time. I remember that feeling even though it is an ancient memory. I had imagined it, seen it in drawings and photos and I even drew it in my little drawing book – all 7 colors with sun and clouds and little houses in the picture.

I expected the same feeling when I visited Agra – The Taj.

The feelings were different though. The rainbow’s occurrence was unexpected. It’s presence was just pointed out and I had jumped up and down with joy. The Taj however was an imagined vision lingering just beyond my eyesight – I knew it was there but hadn’t seen it yet.

Standing in line to get through the security check, my thoughts were nowhere near the Taj even though that’s where I was headed. I felt a nudge from Arvind and I looked up from rummaging in my bag to see the spectacle I will never forget in my life. Through the entrance of the sandstone fort stood a vision in white, so majestic that the thought that it is a mausoleum never struck me. I just stood there – feeling a feeling I’ve never felt before.

The beauty of the structure hit me before the stories that lay behind it did.

It was cold and there was a light fog. That made the Taj look even more beautiful, mysterious and majestic.

At the distance, the grandeur held me spell bound for a while- a few snaps were taken and the guide rushed us to go closer. The winter was biting through us and the Taj would soon be lost to darkness in a few minutes. We moved on along the line of fountains that led to the Taj.

Up close, the intricate work on the surfaces and the symmetry of the sides stunned me- so did the architecture where a 4 sided pillar looked 8 sided- trick of light.

Inside lay Mumtaz, the beautiful and the lucky; all around Agra, tour guides spoke about Mumtaz and Shah Jahan and their love for each other – of how Mumtaz was a very beautiful woman – one guide even went on to explain how Shah Jahan was bad at fishing because he could never concentrate as he was distracted by the beautiful Mumtaz.

The atmosphere was the best for us 2 newly weds to wander around – lost in time – in the stories of the great kings and queens- in their love and legendary grandeur.

So there we were at Agra, in the land of luxurious palaces, forts and memorials, a land with stories of love and affection…

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