Picture of a young boy taken in Vagamon, Kerala.
“Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife..
..she kept the noiseless tenor of her way.”
Words shamelessly paraphrased from: “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray (1751)
Picture taken in the churchyard of Holy Cross Basilica, Fort Cochin
I am not quite sure where I stand when balancing form with function in my home.
A couple of months back, when I bought a veena, it seemed I had decidedly plumped for ornamentation over practicality:
I cannot play the instrument and have left it a little late to learn.
The appeal was purely visual.
But my friend Robin kept fingering the veena’s strings,
and yesterday embarked on a course of classes.
Now I find my enjoyment of the veena is considerably enhanced by hearing someone play it.
A modest perfection of both form and function:
Late have I loved you, beauty ever ancient yet ever new!
Late have I loved you!
You were within me but I was outside.
There I sought you, as I rushed about among the beautiful things you had made.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
The beautiful things of this world kept me far from you.
You called. You cried.
You burst through my deafness. You scattered my blindness.
I breathed your fragrance, and now I pine for you.
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me, and I burn with desire for you .
Confessions, St Augustine of Hippo
Picture taken outside the Seminary chapel, Fort Cochin.
Our driver, Ravinder, had looked after us brilliantly in Delhi.
Today he was to take us to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
It was a five-hour journey through busy traffic, variable roads and worsening weather.
During my first visit to India, the Taj Mahal was high on our must see list.
My family fulfilled this “tryst with destiny”.
I did not.
Though tantalisingly close to the Taj, I spent the allocated day completely unable to leave my hotel bathroom.
On this, my second visit, I watched what I was eating with greater care and, as we arrived in Agra, my bowels remained pleasingly quiescent.
But the same could not be said for the weather.
Unseasonal monsoon rains were falling so heavily that the long-awaited tour was still unattainable.
Again I spent my Taj-time in an hotel bedroom,
One step closer to the Taj Mahal, I reflected, than a bathroom.
The guide hired by Ravinder suggested we delay our scheduled early morning return to Delhi. We would all meet up again at 6:00 in the morning.
If it was dry, we might take our tour before breakfast, when the climate was cool and the site less crowded.
We awoke to some mist
But no rain.
The sheer size, perfect symmetry and breathtaking beauty of this monument to love and loss are staggering.
The Taj Mahal’s impact is almost overwhelming.
Its drama touches people in different ways.
But the experience remains unforgettable.
All photographs taken on this tour of the Taj Mahal.
Monday’s child is fair of face..
Picture taken in Sri Krishna Cafe, Cochin.