Agra · Culture · India · Letters · Travel · World

Dear Taj Mahal

You are one of the most romantic sites in the world with thousands of stories have been woven around you. I too have a tale to share.

It was a cold December when I had decided to visit Taj Mahal. Obviously not the best of times to go and visit the place. I had booked a bus in Delhi through Delhi Tourism board. The temperature that day was 5 degrees. I was freezing to death since I came from Mumbai and people in Mumbai don’t realize that a season such as winter actually exists. The bus had a bunch of affable passengers. I got into the bus at 6 in the morning and dozed off. I woke up with a start realizing that we were nearing Taj Mahal. I couldn’t see anything beautiful. All I could see was a huge crowd ahead of the bus. We got down and realized that the queue was 2 km long. Our tour guide arranged something and got us in 10 minutes.

When I saw inside, I finally saw you. Hypnotized by your beauty, I kept going ahead and was about to enter when I was grabbed by my collar. Two healthy women yelled in Hindi. I looked at them blankly. “Madam, are you VIP?” I nodded my head. “Then stop being smart and stand in the line”, saying this one the woman threw me towards the long snake-like line. Embarrassed, I stood in the line. The tour guide said we have only one hour to see the place. I saw my other co –passengers had given up already and were roaming around in the garden. Determined I took another route where two male guards were standing. I walked towards them.

“Bhaiya, Please janne do”, I told them with my damsel distress look. The guard said, “No Madam, rule is rule”. I knew thousand bucks wouldn’t be enough to get me inside. He looked gruff and stern. So I told him, “Sirji, I am from Mumbai. I am getting married and I will not be allowed to do much post marriage. I have come here with my Bhaiya” I lied straight on his face pointing to a fellow co-passenger. I was nowhere close to getting married. He looked at me and asked, “You are from Mumbai. My sister is living there, is married there.” I knew then that I had him in my hook. I sat beside him and asked, “Where does she stay?”

“She stays in Dombivili”, he said proudly. “She got her married 2 years ago. She has an LLB degree and used to work here. Now she gets beaten in her house. She is so bright. Now I miss her. I haven’t seen her over a year.”

I thought, ‘Really?’ A person from Delhi complaining about his sister getting beaten up in Mumbai? I thought these things happened more in the North of India. Obviously I had stereotyped a region and made an ignorant assumption. Things like this happen everywhere in India.

Taj Mahal
Beauty Divine

After seven months when I was cleaning my bag, I found a parchment with an address. I had conveniently forgotten about that guard.  I smiled and booked flowers online and wrote ‘To Chotti, From Bhaiya’. I don’t even know if she still lives there. I hoped that she did.

 When I remember you today, I remember purity. I remember a love in the most innocent form- white marbles, Yamuna river and a guard standing every day, praying for a smile.

2 thoughts on “Dear Taj Mahal

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