Seven flights, two road trips and one train journey later, I’m back from my ‘Indian’ adventure.
Monument of a man’s love for his third, dead wife, the Taj Mahal; Varanasi, the oldest city in the world and Lucknow, the city of ‘Tehzeeb’; is what I saw and flinched when my son described this as his holiday into ‘rural’ India.
Cannot entirely blame little chubs, especially since he contracted gastroenteritis on the third day of the holiday and spent an entire night vomiting before being given a painful injection.
In fact I even feel a little guilty for relishing so many ‘pethas’ from Agra, ‘pedas’ from Mathura, Banarasi paan and ‘Tunday Kebabs’ in Lucknow while the wee one ate burned toast and drank mineral water.
Cheered on by Niks, who would not be deterred by a train that arrived three and a half hours late for a four hour journey, we saw, touched, clicked, ate, shopped everything on our itinerary and then some.
Admiring the patience of the husband who could have been at a music festival in Amsterdam but was instead floating in a boat on the river Ganges with me, I couldn’t help but feel the latent allure of a 3000 years old city built entirely on a river bank. Or remark on the entrepreneurship of the tea stall owner who had painted an advertisement on the aged stone of the ghats, in French.
I wondered at the mosque and the temple in Mathura at Krishna janam bhumi, which shared a wall and had higher security than fort knox; who exactly was a threat here? The Hindus or the Muslims?
I listened with awe as the guide took me through the only philanthropic monument in the world, the Imambara in Lucknow, commissioned by a Nawab in 1785 to create employment for the famine struck people of Lucknow.
And had no answer for chubs when he questioned why it was compulsory for ‘couples’ to be accompanied by a guide at the ‘Bhool Bhulaiya’, a three level maze created in stone for the entertainment of the nawabs.
I wondered aloud, why I did not do this more often, which I should not have, because chubs immediately answered “because I’ll die of vomiting and loose motions!”
However, sitting here while I write this, in a clean, climate controlled airport, out of one of the major cities of India, much like any other clean, climate controlled airport in any other part of the world, the yearning for another Indian adventure has already begun.