"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

rain

From The Rising Of The Sun To Its Setting: Part 3

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Afternoon:
sun shines through rain;
the wonder of a timeless covenant.

Picture taken at Kopua Monastery

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Between The Showers

Morning errands can now be started.

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Pictures taken in Fort Cochin.


Monsoon Intermission

The rain subdues into gentle drips
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Picture taken early this morning in Fort Cochin


Braving The Monsoon

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Rain Stopped Play

Das, my regular driver, waits with Anu
contemplating our journey home.
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“Rain stopped play” is a phrase familiar to cricket followers in England, where the climate is reliably unreliable.


Seeking Consolation

We were booked to stay in Pelling for two nights:
An area renowned for its staggering views of the high Himalayan peaks. 

Before leaving Kerala, I had seen this picture on the hotel’s website:

Unfortunately, our arrival coincided with poor weather.

Awakening the next morning, I could hear no rain. I drew back the curtains with great expectations.
And was greeted by this:

Alternating dense mists and heavy rain persisted for the duration of our stay.

The hotel was not set up for wi-fi broadband and, in this high mountainous terrain, my mobile could find no signal.
No views, no email, no sms.
We sought the consolations of the flesh:


Sikkim cuisine was sampled,
And I seem to remember we took a couple of Hits
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Taj Redux?

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.

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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. 

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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.
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The sheer size, perfect symmetry and breathtaking beauty of this monument to love and loss are staggering.

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The Taj Mahal’s impact is almost overwhelming.

 Its drama touches people in different ways.

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But the experience remains unforgettable.

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All photographs taken on this tour of the Taj Mahal.