Tag Archives: love

Scintillating and Mesmerizing Taj Mahal

There are few things that are synonymous with India than the scintillating Taj Mahal.  Growing up in India as a child, Taj Mahal was in all my history books and we were often fed an overdose of the Taj. Yet, I never thought I would see the Taj Mahal in person. Having grown up on a staple of Indian movies where several romantic numbers in the 90’s were shot at the Taj Mahal, I always felt I had seen the monument in person. On a cloudy and humid July day, my husband, new daughter and I made our way to Taj Mahal. We were in New Delhi to finish the adoption formalities, and had the weekend when we decided to visit the magnificient Taj Mahal.

I will always remember seeing the Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River banks and our cab driver telling us there is the Taj. The distance did not diminish the beauty or the magnificence of the Taj. As we walked through security, I felt a sense of overwhelming uneasiness at the presence of such magnificence. While it looked just like in the movies, the enormousness of the monument was undeniable. As we walked through the pathway amidst thousands of people, some tourists and many locals, we were briefed about the history of the Taj Mahal by our tour guide. Every word echoed the years I spent in school in India reading and marveling at the romance behind the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor for his most beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal to profess his love for her. He wanted to build a monument that was as beautiful as her. It was built to house her tomb which along with Shah Jahan’s is still seen in the Taj. It took twenty one years and several thousands of people to build the monument. Upon building the monument, it is told he cut off their arms so they would not replicate the Taj. The art inside the Taj is made of real gem stones from different parts of the world and the white marble is unique to Agra where the Taj resides. The marble glows on a full moon night which was demonstrated when we took a tour of how the art is created.
As I walked through Taj in my booties, I marveled at the architecture of the monument. Amidst thousands of people thronging through the doors of Taj, I felt a strange serenity. The monument echoed the love between a man and a woman, and as a girl who grew up on Bollywood romances of the 90’s I could only wonder how someone could love another person so much that they built the iconic Taj Mahal in her honor. The Taj Mahal is beyond a monument. It is the symbol of love that is often seen hidden in the pages of a romance novel. I am proud that I belong to the land of the Taj Mahal, a symbol of love even more than I ever was.

A Travel Love Story in Seattle

Seattle in Washington is a place very close to my heart. I accepted a job in 2008 which required of me to travel to Seattle for a year. I traveled to Seattle on Monday and returned back on Friday. For a travel novice, this was the worst situation ever. I remember sitting at San Jose airport feeling the pangs of fear and anxiety creep in me. I was scared of everything ahead of me. I was traveling alone for the first time ever and I felt naked sitting at that airport. My security blanket in my family was stripped of me. I wanted to run back to my family but I also desperately needed this job. I told myself to man up and deal with it.

 

The two hour flight was the longest of my life, longer than the 23 hrs I had traveled to reach United States from India. As we landed, I paid attention to every detail in the airport as I made my way to the taxi stand to get a cab to my work. I did not know much about Seattle. As we cruised through the city, Seattle felt amazingly comforting. The greenery around reminded of my home in Kerala, the rain drops sooth the nervousness out of me and engulf me with excitement. I pulled up the directions on my iphone just in case the driver was going to mislead me.

 

I reached my office, met bunch of new people and immediately it was time to go for lunch. The travel bug had not bit me yet, so as any new travel novice new foods scared me. My co workers decided to take me for my first sushi. I had never had sushi before. We walked into the restaurant and was handed a menu that could have been in Japanese. I ordered the most American thing on the menu- the bento box and was handed chopsticks. I had used chopsticks once in college, and I ended up feeding the person behind me as I tried to feed myself. I asked for forks and was teased by my coworkers who urged I eat with chopsticks.

 

My many trips to Seattle made me a better person. I went from a girl who had never traveled alone to being confident traveling alone. I learned to enjoy being with myself. Suddenly I did not need my friends and family to have fun. I learned to have fun alone. I conquered my biggest fear of eating in front of strangers. All through college, I made excuses when I was asked out by people because I feared eating in front of them- or I was too shy to do it. Seattle blossomed the travel lover in me, and for those reasons Seattle will always been special.
Stay tuned for my Seattle adventures in the following weeks!