Half a day dissolved in the pleasance of sleep. Reaching the airport well ahead of time, only to find that the flight has be advanced to an hour earlier, and relief at being early enough not to miss my flight. Reaching Delhi, visiting JNU and Kalka-ji. A wait for a friend, coffee ice-cream and a Kindle-read American Gods. Meeting an old friend, making a new one, and conversations that are random streams that intersect with and deviate from one another like a crisscross of rivers. Back to JNU when the Onam celebrations were nearing an end, repeating the process: meeting old friends, and making new ones.
The next day dawns with a slow process of getting ready to head towards Agra. Uneventful auto and bus journeys towards the city. You would think that the constant exposure towards images and information about certain places would reduce the beauty of certain places. But I was to be pleasantly surprised. There was a short-cut towards the ticket counter that seemed to be unexplored by many. Willingly, we chose to walk the empty road. As we trudged through the grass, we spotted a long blackish snake winding its way through the grass heading off towards whatever destination it had in mind. With a quick goodbye to our reptilian friend, we went along our way. We saw camel-carts with the massive animals standing idly waiting for a savari (whether they were waiting for the savari or not, I cannot tell, but their owners sure wanted people to be filling up the carts).
And then there was the queue. We thought we had to stand in a long-winding, never-ending queue towards the entrance, but there was a separate queue for women. There were, in fact, four separate queues: the high-value tickets and the low-value tickets for both men and women. Both the ladies’ queues were short, and thankfully, we got in faster than most others. Mostly, being all tourist-like, we took pictures of everything we could. But that got us to looking at the construction itself. Not that we knew anything of architecture, but the minute stones embedded into the marble walls, twirling into twines of colourful flowers, the carvings on the walls, the writings in Arabic and the intricacy of it all.
Stuck near a tomb waiting to get out, the security does not allow the people who enter the innermost area to exit it. A crowded shrine, and unhappy people. Annoyed with the guards, who eventually cave in and let the people out. A tussle between women when push becomes shove. A quick exit. – With all things beautiful comes something not so pleasing. The Laal Kila. Exploring with a map absorbed into a camera, and understanding things better. Once again, looking at carvings, and looking with awe at the fort walls.And then the journey back- an escapade not worth mentioning about, save for the fact that the bus that ought to have gotten us back to Delhi by 9.00 p.m. reached the bus stop only by 11.00 p.m. Filled with exhaustion, there was a quick dinner and sleep.