Most people visit the magnificent monument Taj Mahal. Well, I have been there too, twice, both without my husband. Quite recently, before my recent trip to Agra, I have read the critical analysis posted in the Facebook that though Taj Mahal is popularly known to be built for the love of his one of the four wives by Shah Jahan, there is little love in it for common people like us. I am not sure if it is true but Mumtaz died while giving birth to their fourteenth child and Shah Jahan married her sister upon her death. And also Shah Jahan cut of the hands of the builder or the architech so that he wouldn’t replicate the same monument elsewhere. Now love do sound complicated here.
Anyway, my friends were quite anxious and one of my colleagues had his wife come over to meet him and he was particularly excited for reasons I don’t have to mention, even though I said all I could remember from my last trip was the tomb of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz and the unbeatable heat. So we made the arrangements to visit the monument anyway. I am not surprised to say that we got cheated the moment we started our journey. Firstly, our driver, who had supposedly visited Taj Mahal twice, had no idea where the Taj Mahal was upon reaching Agra. He kept on repeating “Pura Naktsa hi badal diya”(meaning the map of Agra has changed). Secondly, we were forced with a guide despite our repeated refusal and thirdly we landed up paying for the free trips for foreign visitors.
We took less than 45 minutes to finish our tour because the heat was roasting us alive and we didn’t know people would be swarming because it was Sunday. The matter became when guides and photographer ran after us, nudging here, requesting there and making us feel all the more important. I don’t know if it was the heat but all I could remember hearing the guide was the different types of marbles and from where it was imported. I just managed to ask how long it took to construct it because I couldn’t imagine importing marbles all the way from China or Arabia and the exquisite details of calligraphy.
So, we were finally coming out and I said I want to take picture with a popular pose of pretending to hold Taj Mahal on my hands. Either I am a poor communicator of what I wanted or my friend was feeling too hot to even bother listening to my instruction because this is the picture he took of mine.