I was walking down the street with him and talking about how I’d lived in Delhi so long, but I’d still not taken the time out to go to Agra and see the Taj Mahal.
“Let’s go now!” he said.
I stopped walking and looked at him. Yes, the crazy eyes told me that he was bloody serious! And I guess the madness was infectious cos I grinned back and said ” Okay! Let’s go!” I ran back home and packed a toothbrush and a change of clothes into my gym bag and rushed out. He was waiting outside for me with a backpack.
We had to take the bus (it was 11am and we were too late for the morning train). But that was okay. We stopped to eat at questionable dhabas. But it was okay. I had to pee in terrible loos on the way there. But it was okay! We stayed at a hotel that wasn’t exactly going to win awards on TimeOut, but that was okay too!
The Taj Mahal is one of the most marketed things about India and I’d seen a million pictures and tacky little marble replicas of it before I saw it in real life, as I’m sure you have as well. But when you do see it, it still manages to take your breath away.
When you see it looming in front of you, peaceful and calm, everything around you goes quiet. You begin to have an inkling of how much love this man had for his wife. I still find it amazing that a man capable of so much love was also capable of so much cruelty that he cut off the hands of the workers who built the monument. I guess they didn’t have the concept of copyrights at the time huh!
It was a cloudy, gray sorta day, the kind that I love, and we walked around holding hands, taking in everything- the intricate work on the walls, the Yamuna glistening behind the Taj… everything was beautiful.. everything was perfect.
For me, that trip is one of the best trips ever. Sure, we didn’t stay at fancy hotels or get spa treatments. But we were full of joy and good spirit, and the sense of adventure trumped any slight discomfort that comes with making plans on the fly.
And of course, we had Love! And when you’re that young, that’s pretty much all you need!