I have been trying to write this one article about my recent trekking experience however for some reason I just am not able to compose it properly, so I decided on writing about something else. Part of the Chinese exchange was that the exchange students come to India as well. They came in August of 2012, just as school started. School meant a lot of workload, tuitions after school and then hanging out with my Chinese counterpart, Zhang. Zhang was quite okay with it, he understood the demanding nature of our studies as he came from a similar education system. In some ways, actually, their teaching methods were worse. On average we have 30 kids in each class. Zhang had 60 kids in his class. The teacher actually wore a portable mic for her voice to reach the far end of the class!
As part of their visit we went to Agra to show them the Taj Mahal. It was hot, and dirty and hot some more times. Agra has been one of those iconic places where every Indian has planned a trip around. I had been there once before with my parents. I remember walking and being pushed by innumerable people to enter the garden that acts as a metaphoric ‘red carpet’ towards the mausoleum. The gardens have a central water body with fountains spouts which I have seen working in action. The ‘red carpet’ is sprinkled with benches for people to sit and look at the beauty of the white marble structure and the two buildings around it. However the people that come to visit use it as a stool instead. Parents tell their kids to stand on them and pose in such a way that it looks as if you are holding the Taj Mahal from its tip. I hate how people do that. It diminishes the majesty and engineering marvel that the Taj Mahal stands for. Sadly, the young me loved it. I have a couple of photos like those that no I will not like to show you.
The Taj Mahal hadn’t changed since the last time. Though what had changed were the level of concern the government had for maintaining the building. Instead walking barefoot on the cold marble we were now forced to wear shoe socks. The number of people entering the mausoleum was also monitored. I was impressed by the level of concern and commitment that was being shown by the government. However this meant a long line both getting in the mosque as well as getting (we had a big group who weren't all allowed at once) On the plus side, though, thid gave me the chance to take pictures! Sitting outside the Mahal’s main building I was looking up when I could a single bird hovering, gliding past one of the four pillars that embody the building. That was when I clicked this picture;
I simply love this picture and its not because it took me over thirty minutes to chase behind the bird to get this shot; Its because of the various elements that can be seen in the picture. You get this beautiful angle of the Taj Mahal with its inlayed walls, one of the four pillars and this beautiful bird flying through it. A majestic bird meets a majestic building.
Another great thing about the picture is that if someone sees they automatically identify it with the Taj Mahal, even though you can't see the iconic dome shaped roof or any of the other usual indicators. This picture was a learning for me to really think out of the box while visiting places of historical importance. It has motivated me really understand the beauty of such architectural marvels and why people love them so much.
I can't wait for the heat to subside here in Delhi so that I can go visit places like Qutub Minar.
I did take another picture with my Chinese colleagues that I love a lot. Have a look!