Coup de Foudre

by admin on April 8, 2008

In Agra there are only two types of people. Locals and tourists. And then there is the Taj. That is Agra in a nutshell.

Having driven from Delhi through the scorching sun , we reached Agra around noon. Hordes of guides and other self proclaimed local experts hounded the car park. With no energy or inclination to offer any resistance, we quickly hired a guide who promised us to take us into the premise within a very short time.

We walked about a mile and a half, through rivers of tourists that were flowing through the narrowest alleys. On both the sides of the alleys were small kiosks, selling everything that can be sold about the Taj; Souvenirs, calendars, models, memorabilia and a variety of other things which makes such places in India so very charming. But at that exact moment and place in the universe all we needed was water. This after devouring three litres in the last hour.

As we sauntered through the labyrinthine maze of many such vividly colourful franchises, I kept an eye on the upcoming horizon anticipating the Taj. But I couldn’t even catch a hazy tip of any of its minarets. Eventually we arrived at what looked like a small entrance, surrounded by unmistakably sarsenic architecture.

Ah! Here we were further delayed, because in spite of everyone vouching for me, the guards, suspecting my nationality insisted to see my Indian passport as proof which I did not have it on me at that time. I was suggested to pay 750 Indian rupees as a foreign national. After much deliberations and me speaking about half a dozen of Indian languages, one of the officials was finally convinced about my indianess and allowed me in.

As we entered , we couldn’t see any Taj. The walk further dragged on to a few more minutes and just as I was about to start my whine, a colossal Darwaza, led us onto a parapet before which, like magic the gorgeous and familiar structure of Taj Mahal appeared from nowhere. We all have seen pictures and postcards of Taj from before we can remember, but when you see it in real time and space-this heavenly blancish structure, with its pair of lean flanking minarets glowing in the afternoon sun, before the longitudinal column of water that faithfully reflected the image of the main tomb, you feel as if you have walked right into the heart of a surreal dream. The sight is absolutely ensorcelling in as much as the surprise with which it appears. Suddenly I realised the meaning of the glint in the eyes of so many people, Indians and English alike, who break into a gleeful admiration whenever they speak of the Taj.

It was just how mom had said-The moment you lay your eyes on the Taj, you are instantly changed. Coup de foudre! It is undoubtedly one of the most amazingly elevating moments that I have experienced.

Whenever I think of sighting the Taj, I realise, how inadequate words are to justify that moment.

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