Saturday, April 23, 2011

Incredible India: Monument of Love

We woke up on the first of January and set off to the Nizamudin railway station to take the 7 O'Clock Train to Agra. We had to take a connecting bus from the Delhi railway station to the Nizamudin station, we got into the bus. Since we were not sure of the point to get down, JK slowly started a conversation with a fellow passenger.

On the way to agra
Views from the Train

As usual we were introduced as the university students and then it turns out that they guy we are speaking to is a anchor in NDTV. He was really helpful and was willing to give his number and wanted JK to give his number return. JK was in a dilemma since what he had was a Singapore roaming number and not a Sri Lankan number, although he introduced himself as a Sri Lankan. Somehow he blamed it on the handset and escapes.

Taj Mahal
Illusive Target destination named Taj Mahal

We reached the station on time, but we were told that train is delayed by 3 hours, so we didnt have an option but to buy news papers and sit on the ground and read up the paper from end to end. Anyway it was good to do a bit of catching up on current affairs after being totally disconnected with the rest of the world for 8 days.

Finally the train reaches the station and the scene unleashed, was something that could easily make into a classic Maniratnam movie, J re-unites with his lost love and his kid. It was sentimental, beautiful and touching. He was shy and not allowing us to take pictures.
no pics

Then the supposedly 3 hour train journey, takes more than 4 hours and guys wanted a way to kill time and the flirting sessions commence. I think I shouldn't write it here. FULL STOP.

We arrive at Agra and then the three wheeler drivers start dictating terms, it was annoying, we didn't know how long it would take from the station to Taj Mahal and after the first day experience we were suspicious whenever they approached us and tried to advice. Then we found that a three wheel was needed to reach there, so took one of them and arrived at the gate,to find that the queues were really long and it was already almost 3 PM and they do not allow people to get in after 5 PM. The black market tickets was a thriving business, since the ticket selling point was far away. We got 3 tickets, but then it was local tickets, yours truly was really worried about having local tickets and last thing we want to face was to be thrown out for not having foreigner ticket. I think my worrying got to the others and we decided to get the foreigner tickets, so the plan was for JK to get the tickets and come and for us to be in the queue till he comes.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal - Will it be the image we would miss?

It turns out to be an utter disaster, JK takes more than 20 mins to return (not his fault because the ticket counter has been a few kilo meters away), the non moving queue upto that point starts to move fast, we get almost close to the gate, we try to tell the people and wait till JK comes to get in, but then no one is in the mood to listen to us and we are eventually pushed out of the queue, I tried to explain to the policeman what happened, but it fell in deaf years. It was frustrating, we had gone all through this from morning and seemed as we would miss even a glimpse of seeing this monument.

Then we decide to try our last possible option, we walked upto the officer in-charge and explained to him, he was a nice man, asked us to meet him as soon as JK gets there with the tickets. Then by the time JK comes there, the officer is not longer there, so we got to the sides of the line, squeeze our self at the entry point, telling the shouting policemen that we got permission from the officer, before he could do much we already mixed in to the queue and sneaked into Taj Mahal!

Taj Mahal was even more majestic than what I expected it to be. We were there right at the sunset. It was beautiful, gigantic, memorable, BUT I wouldn't want to visit it again, unless I am forced to.

The Add ;)
The pose

We come out of Taj Mahal and make it to the railway station and we are told that the train is delayed by 3 hours, we decide to wait, but then slowly we see the delay time starting to increase. We had our return flight in the morning, so had to go to Delhi somehow. So we decide to get a taxi, it costed atleast 50 times the train ticket price. But no option but we had to take a taxi. So once we got into the taxi we breathed a sigh of relief, we now got the belief that we would reach Delhi in time for the flight. But then hopes in India are short lived, as we have met another classic taxi driver again, every 15 mins he decided to take 15 mins naps. Now we started to edgy, we couldn't force a sleepy man to drive and in the same time we had to catch a flight. So we tried to pursue him to drive. Now every now and then he tried to find a reason to get parts of the final amount promised to him. Already we were suspicious of him and this got really annoying, since the agreement at the start was to pay the full amount on arrival. His English was very poor and tries to ask for 500 RS from us and ends up asking for 50,000 RS. We had to tell him to fly a kite, and then at one point we had to explain that we are not giving anything more till we get to the hotel. Finally we reach the hotel in time and get to the airport also on time. All of this being said the experience in India was unbelievable, looking back its so memorable!

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

The lesson learnt, if trying to see the monument of love is so painful, how painful will be/is love! :P

So finally we touch down and the next day I make it to office, where I am asked to take a vaccination and goto Africa within the next 4 days! Life is a journey!

1 comment:

  1. /* I think I shouldn't write it here. FULL STOP.*/ BUT now everyone think you should have written it here or somewhere, COMMA

    /* The lesson learnt, if trying to see the monument of love is so painful, how painful will be/is love! :P */
    One of the thump rule of writing travel essays, not to mix up other personal life experiences... :P