The shock on the faces was all familiar. “You have not seen the Taj Mahal yet?!” they asked, “and you are from Delhi!” I smiled sheepishly like I always did and thought to myself “Thirty years it has been! I must see the Taj”
So, here I was, on the New Delhi Railway station on a pleasant autumn morning. I always prefer the trains to the road. There were two of us; I, who had never seen the Taj and my mother – who had seen it fifty odd years back as a kid, both equally excited at the prospect of going to Agra.
Luck favoured us in Agra, we were fortunate to see the Taj in all its resplendent glory under a full moon night. Not satiated still, we scampered to be right in front of the tourist queue the next morning, and were able to spend some quiet time absorbing the sights before the crowds came in.
In the evening, we quietly strolled down to the river bank behind. As the sun set on Yamuna, the orange hues of the dusk lent a pleasing golden tinge to the Taj. The quiet of this scene was interjected only by the occasional chatter of local boys. They were perched on top of a stone altar, sharing a moment as they stared at the sunset.
The next day, we paid a visit to Agra Fort, where the guide regaled us with anecdotes of how the emperors and their queens spent their time in the fort. I walked close to the window from where Shah Jahan gazed at the Taj all day long. As I saw the beautiful white marble monument across the Yamuna, I could not help empathize with the emperor’s longing and melancholy.