Warm were her summer days
Spreading her arms wide
Unto acceptance of the unworthiness
With her colours of life.
O how one sing praises of her songs.
Of her beauty.
Of her grace.
- Sharma S.N. -
Her Jaipur, the Victorious City was a construction of infinite shapes and colours. The majestic Rajasthani city speaks of ancient gloriousness with the majestic City Palace and Amber Fort. Pink and crimson hues steal the daylight from the Old City, only to resonant as one at sunset. Life begins with the first beam of sunlight and the Jantar Mantar (Royal Observatory) is a testament of the superiority of the sun in sustaining the order of the day, and life. Her bustling Johari bazaar sparkles with fabrics that can untangle even the saddest of expressions of a woman.
13 May 2008: Bomb blasts in Jaipur killed 60, injured 150.
A city of love should be a measure of devotion, not the amount of bulbs lighting a lifeless metal structure. Her city of Agra spoke of such with conviction as Shah Jahan devoted his mortality to completing his “teardrop on the face of eternity (Tagore)”, his Taj Mahal, in memory of his deceased second wife.
But is devotion mere beautification of a mausoleum?
Or a startling Agra Fort overlooking the mausoleum and the holy Yamuna River?
No, devotion was his imprisonment in the fort by his own son, Aurangzeb and his last, perpetual glimpse of his love through the window, as he exhaled his last breath.
Her Mughal-reigned Old Delhi humbles the largest of men. Lal Qila, the Red Fort greets its visitors with a stunning entrance, the red-sandstoned Lahore Gate, promising a view of the respected, royal, liberal Mughal governance.
Cleaned and barefooted, worshippers walked on the burning ground to reach the largest mosque she offers. Patience is part of faith. The grand Jama Masjid. 40 metres high, the climb to the top of the minaret further described the vastness of her Delhi, her pride. The wind seemed to guide the eager ones towards the right direction.
The chants and veda inscriptions in the Laxminarayan Temple or Birla Mandir transports one to a state of meditation, and serenity.
25 July 2008: Bomb blasts in Bangalore killed 2, injured 20.
26 July 2008: Bomb blasts in Ahmedabad killed 56, injured over 200.
26 July 2008: Mumbai, Calcutta, Surat and New Delhi were on high alert.
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, north. The exhaust fume from the "horn, please" trucks spurs a welcoming gesture onto the passengers' face, from Kalka onwards. They were mostly trucks of apples, the in-season fruit. Scandal Point, Middle Baazar, Lower Bazaar; they promise happy faces and beautiful mountainous smiles. The Jakhu (Hanuman) Temple and English Christ Church remind us of guidance we all need. At over 2200 metres above sea level, one can never not be curious to know the Tibetan life beyond the Great Himalayan Range. It often takes a song to greet. And flowers to know.
She had been kind. For the usual, awaited cooling rain did not dampen our clothes or spirit (not even once) during this time of heat.
I left with a melancholic song.
Wrapped with praises and hope.
I wish her peace.
I wish her well.
Her, beautiful India.