Wednesday, April 13, 2011

As I travel…

Day before yesterday I was in a train to Agra. Few days back I was in bus to Hyderabad. And two months back I was in a flight to Delhi.

These journeys have been quite different from each other. The dissimilarity is not just in the mode of transportation but in the experience too. From middle class lot of buses and trains to upper middle class of planes, the treatment you get, the way you behave, the mannerism you opt for, all tend to differ. It is sometimes strange to see how we tend to act differently at different settings, how our behavior and reservations differ from place to place, from journey to journey. What is even stranger is that all this seems to be normal and ceases to look stranger!

Though these journeys are so different from each other, I found one common factor in all these. Feeling liberated. Whenever I travel and as I travel and leave behind every tree, building on my way, I feel this unexplainable happiness. I feel a unique sense of freedom when I see myself moving rather than being stagnant at one place.

Many a times while sitting at the window seat, I have thought of how this moving away is letting me come closer to my inner self. Sitting by the window I think of the people I love, I think of the moments I have cherished, of the events that have made me strong and that have made me what I am.

Journey lets me be with myself, no office task to worry upon, no responsibilities to take care of… freedom from all these. Though this freedom is momentary, it is an experience worth having. I think that’s the very charm of it. You never know till when it will last, till when you will be able to experience this and that’s the very attraction. Isn’t it?

Apart from this there is always an excitement about reaching your destination and a hope, a positive feeling about the new place. May be that’s the reason why I prefer my journeys more than the destinations.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Agra beyond Taj Mahal

It is not about my one time visit to the city. I have been going and visiting the place once in every year. Reason- the city being my home town. However, in spite of belonging to the place by birth, I have always felt as a tourist out there. May be because of the gap between my upbringing and culture and the city.

Keeping all that aside, let me speak about the city (still not sure whether I should call it a ‘big- developing’ town or just a city). The place has always attracted me with its traditional lifestyle with a touch of modernity here and there. Sometimes even the roughness and the harshness the place seems to deal with, catches my attention.

It is not just the Taj Mahal, which makes the city but its culture and people. A careful look around the city and you will have some of the most cherishable moments of your life, though this walk might not be as refreshing as visiting Taj Mahal or Fatehpur Seekhri, for the simple reason of massive garbage presence at every corner!!

Loud posters of movies with names like “Caal Girls” or “Khuni Darinda” can be seen beautifying the walls in the interiors of the city. Many buildings which were nothing less than forts are withering away. You will come across many of these on your tour to Agra.

Apart from that, there are some good things to notice too..small gali with hand-pumps at the very entrance near the old agra presents you with touch of pre-British era. Elderly people draped in traditional Dhoti Kurta and a Ghandhi cap on their head also going to attract you. Try having conversations with few of them, they in their braj (dialect of Hindi) will tell you about the transition the city has gone through. It might be difficult to understand at first but yes it worth catching even the few phrases.

Marble is everywhere- you can see karigars (artisans) working on these white stones and giving them life. Though the most famous is the image is of Taj Mahal, statues of God and Goddess as well as decorating pieces are also sure to tempt to.
Moving from our tiny Taj Mahal to the real wonder, let me tell you it is indeed a wonder, its beauty, its delicate art work and design leaves you spell bound. And believe me , I am not exaggerating. It is an experience in itself. In fact, for me, its white marble structure presents a kind of relief from the other monumental buildings.

This is my Agra which has more than just Taj Mahal to offer you. Try visiting it in my way, I am sure you will like it :)