Viewing the Taj at Age Fifty

It is not possible to live in India and see the Taj Mahal for the first time. The Taj is like the Mahabharata. You cannot ever read the Mahabharata, not if you are an Indian- you can only re-read it. One visits the Taj after seeing it a million times, in pictures and photographs and mushy movie songs. 

The first sight is calculated to inspire, and it does that, even to middle aged men with jaded eyes.

One gets one’s breath back, but loses it again to the full frontal.

One of the minarets had repair works going on when we visited, but as Bullet Babu, the greatest motorcycle mechanic to walk the planet famously said, a tappet noise only adds to the engine music.

The dome of the entrance is tall enough to make a two storied giraffe enclosure.

Talking of wildlife, the best views of the place are from where the eagles soar and the rhesus monkeys dare.

This guy takes a rest after climbing down one of the minarets.

Will the sun set on the Taj? There are lunatics who wish it would, who seek to erase history. They believe that dementia is the path to glory. 

Perhaps they will succeed. We underestimate the power of stupid people at our peril.

Afghan boys play soccer in front of the empty seat of one of two Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 in Bamiyan Province*

*Haunted by the Bamiyan Buddhas

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