India- chapter six

Before sunset, the red-orange clouds dispersed the light and enhanced the colors. We spent many minutes admiring the mosque and the Southern gate of the Taj Mahal, with its astute Mughal style, as we tried to postpone the moment when the mausoleum would appear in front of us. Beautiful jasper calligraphy, Persian poems, incised painting, plant motifs were inlaid in white marble, surrounding the walls. I was steps from the domed mausoleum, and yet I was apprehensive of letting my eyes see, my hands feel, my heart overfill with sentiments I knew I was going to be unable to contain. The many pictures I had seen and all the pages I had read, did not prepare me for what was going to happen.

The first glimpse of the monument, and each step thereafter, made my heart race and my breathing became erratic.

I advanced very slowly, carried by my steps, by the wind or who knows, and I refused to blink my eyes. My tremulous hand touched the precious stones of the delicate intricate art. The tomb inside was surrounded on all sides by the finest and most elaborate latticed white marble; entangled turquoise, coral, agate, and onyx stones were displayed in the most wonderful flower design.

I felt a gush of warmth on my face. My eyes were tearing. I started encircling the mausoleum obsessively. A wooden raft on the river Yamuna on the north side, added to the mesmerizing dazzling scene. The pure white of the marble became a gold hue, while the day’s last rays of sun were settling down. Almost at the same time, vapors of fog started to surround the dome. Minutes later, the minarets were wrapped in thick clouds. The mausoleum disappeared, engulfed by the haze. The salty taste of my tears reminded me that I was waking up from a dream.

I felt sad and helpless. I knew I could seek the entire world, but I would never find anything as beautiful as the Taj Mahal. Drained of emotions, suddenly, my world became poorer…


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