Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kapil's Story: Yuhi koi mil Gaya tha, Sare-rahha chalte chalte........

Story: Yuhi koi mil Gaya tha, Sare-rahha chalte chalte........

This episode dates back to year 2004, when my elder Sali Sahiba Respected Sangeeta Ji was here in India from USA with her two kids Reena & Rishi for a vacation with her in-laws in Jaipur & with her Mother in Delhi, as her father was in USA on business Trip & her husband Pramod Bhai sahib was also busy in his work in USA.

On the last leg of her vacation tour , she was very eager to show Taj Mahal to her kids in Agra India , She suggested us to make a trip to Agra & around with our total family .

I & my family was quickly moved by the idea as I had seen my photograph in front of Taj Mahal only as a kid & I had no memory of Taj left . Also in last four years we were not out for any vacations as our house in Noida was under-construction. 

my younger Sali Sahiba Priya was quickly made the all arrangements including Hotel booking & a mini van as we were 11 people in total , my family of four  , Sangeeta Ji' family three , Priya's family three , my Mother in law , total eleven .

On last moments Priya got some urgent work that is why they quit from Agra trip. We all were very sad about her family quitting.

We start our journey as per schedule in mini van called TATA traveler in picnic style with all food packets open within 10 minutes of start of the traveling.

My wife Kamini has a habit to take a sizable stock of eatables if logistic supports. She also feels hungry with in minutes of start of traveling even if she had good meals only an hour ago.

In north India specially the standard menu for traveling is puri, dry potato, mango pickles & dal bizzi, when travel by train, in compartments one easily got the fragrance of these food quickly, just after start of journey, these fragrance creates a ripple effect of appetite in other passengers, who suddenly got a feeling of hungry-ness starts looking for their food packets.

As we were in a mini van by road, we could stop any time for road side dhabba, we stopped three four times in total before reaching the Sikandra on the outskirts of Agra.

Sikandra is the tomb of Mughal Emperor Akbar built around 17 centaury A.D. Just outside the main city of Agra is a large complex on a rectangular plot with a very big entrance gate situated in the middle of one side , as one enters  a huge garden with lush green grass on both sides with a straight sight of a tomb situated on opposite side almost touching the opposite side . Scores of Deer & black buck were adding a delight in the scene, but a bit scary reverse hanging bats in thousands were also there on 300-400 years old huge trees spread in total garden. 

Sikandra was a typical of a Mughal architecture based on an Islamic aspect of "Jannat" (in Urdu, Persian, Arabic same meaning) which means "heaven" in English, "Savarg" in Hindi. "Jannat" literary meaning a very beautiful garden. This same map is basic to majority of Mughal tombs in different era made by different Mughal rulers, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh in Kashmir, Humayun Tomb in Delhi, Taj Mahal in Agra are prominent examples among a dozen more.

After enjoying Sikandra , it was almost dusk & we were exhausted completely reached Agra , with a glimpse of Taj with in route to hotel ,  checked in hotel Taj view , freshen ourselves , eat dinner , Retired in the beds as a lost identity as all energy drained out.

Next day was a big day as we were about to see Taj , excitement was in the air , after all morning bath etc, we had our breakfast , now ready to go to Taj came out of hotel .

Taj was just 10 minutes distance from our hotel, fortunately I saw a Tonga (horse carriage); instead of taking our van, I decided to have fun with Tonga ride upto Taj as kids never had that. We were eight ourselves plus Tonga driver total nine , was a bit tricky to adjust all , however to split group into two Tonga was a fun killing idea . Tonga driver said "no problem" as out of eight, four were kids. he sat on one side arm , ask the family to take seats , I adjusted all leaving one seat at back seat for myself , As I put my foot of platform to adjust myself , complete Tonga tilted towards back leaving all kids  bewildered  about this new adventure , this is due to my weight i.e. 94 kg. , Tonga driver adjust one more person (name withheld as she also holds good weight) to front seat to balance weight properly. I had adjusted properly. Tonga started towards Taj. This tilting experience was a really laughing stock among us. 

Reached Taj in just 15-20 minutes, deposited mobile etc. Due to security reasons , purchased the ticket , moved towards further security , Lady ticket checker ask to purchase a "foreigner" ticket ( 20 times higher price ) for Sangeeta Ji's daughter Reena ,  I told & convince her somehow that Reena is an Indian & entered inside the rectangular complex .

as we saw the first straight glimpse of Taj , To say "wow" is a basic instinct ,  not a English word , as toddler try to express themselves before getting any word meaning knowledge , wa wa wow ma maama  pa  ha ha .....  That is why Taj is called wonder of the world.

The rectangular complex has same layout like Sikandra, but an array of fountain from entrance porch to Tomb structure dividing the garden equally on left & Right. Another Structure on the left corner was a mosque. Garden & fountains were more maintained in comparison to Sikandra, off course after all Taj is a world renowned monument. Both side of the fountain row, there was pathways towards main tomb Structure.

Inside Taj guide puts a torch light on a wall marble , one sees the light on the other side of marble slab showing the almost transparency in a stone , then he make a loud voice towards upper tomb , a strong rebound of voice emerged , one two three , seven rebound of a single sound . Amazing. Two false grave on the ground floor, false as the actual grave of Emperor Shah Jahan & his beloved Mumtaj Mahal is in the basement, where public entry is restricted. 
Holy Quran Ayats ( Holy couplets) are beautifully calligraphies in black stone , then these alphabets of black stone engraved in the white marble creates a ageless , timeless creation all around the inside & outside of the main tomb Structure specially on the front main door of this .

Outside this tomb Structure a big raised platform & four minarets are also there , if you start seeing a top of a  minarets with slight concentration , you feel that minarets is falling on you , from front gate , if one watch up towards both minarets , it look they both will collide with each other , these effect make this Structure a true "monolith".   

On the back side of tomb Structure, river Yamuna is flowing, the cool breeze of a river bed makes the palace really a romantic paradise.

While walking back, halfway, there is a bench; this is a "Must Sit" bench for every Taj Visitor specially couples, to have a photo with Taj in Background in a romantic pose.
Every head of state & First Lady had a couple pose here from Clinton to Mushrraf to Sarkozy to Tony Blair to name a few.

As we all were coming out from complex, I saw a tall African man's security checking was just over by staff, I recognize him immediately as He Was Carl Lewis.

You know Carl Lewis? The legendary athlete from USA has won nine gold in Olympics, eight gold in world championships & eight world records were in his name once.

I rushed towards him , to my utter disbelief ,  forwarded my hand to have a handshake , he handshake properly  , but shaken a bit said no no no no , my tour will spoil , please please , I immediately sensed his problem , apprehending trouble with a mob ganged  , decided  to leave him to enjoy his trip without any disturbance , he was accompanied by two care taker from Uday villas five star hotel , as I spotted him , all the security staff from CISF ( Central Industrial security Force ) asked me about "who is he"? I told them about him ,
then I spotted the lady security officer , who has  questioned about Reena's Foreign Ticket  , I asked her that why she spotted Reena only , she said sir I Have just allowed for family enjoyment sake ,  she judged that Reena is an American as she was talking to other , just by  her accent , I marked her intelligence , As we never think on these lines ,  thanks her about co-operation ..

Located our Tango to go back, Reena asks me "Mausaji Please you sit first on front seat" to avoid another dis-balance of Tonga, we all laugh together.......

Thoroughly enjoyed this trip...

End of Part 1.

Rephrased Title: Yuhi "Lewis" mil Gaya tha, Agra trip maiy.....

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