Taj Mahal. The first glimpse.
There are places that mesmerize you. There are some that sing to you. Others listen to you, borrow your sorrows for a while, and even heal a deep-seated wound or two. Then there's the Taj - it does all of that and then, just claims a portion of your heart, a considerable size, and simply refuses to give it back. In alluring echos, it calls your name again and again till you return one day. And return I did last month.
Legend goes that if you turn and look back, just once, while leaving through the gigantic gateway, you are bound to come back one day. It was a sultry June afternoon, the kind that sticks to your skin when the monsoons are just a taunting fortnight away. A wide-eyed teenager and all of just 14, I wasn't sure of many things back then. But I do recall a feeling of sadness, one that was beyond my years or being to fathom, that had lightly touched my shoulders while leaving the place. I also remember being so overwhelmed by what I saw that I was unusually quiet for most of the day, as if to speak would break the spell.
Only this time the magic became somewhat decipherable, but not enough for me to put it into words. Not yet. Perhaps it is something about not being able to bottle the wonder, the exquisiteness and bring it back with you; for try as much you would capturing it, inch by inch, standing there in front of it and getting awed by every single detail is something else altogether. The unparalleled Mughal architecture, the poetry in every little motif, and the strange calm in the midst of a frenzied crowd - it is nothing short of a trance when they all come together. And I am still swooning in it.