Archive: December 2019

Profile photo of Anita Ayela What did you do last summer?!!

Writing about summer after six months has past is surprising! I agree! But I can’t let go of 2019 without blogging about my trip to India in the summer.

After eight long years when I went to India this summer, I was very nostalgic. I felt that the kind of hustle bustle that is present in India is not really noisy; it is a real relaxation of life. You feel alive when you see so many people speaking the Indian languages and dressed up the same or similar way that you are. You tend to forget that people are strangers… they never look or behave like strangers, and so it is easy to start a conversation with anyone, anywhere. I am sure, the whites or the blacks in the US feel the same way when the birds of the same feather flock together.

A long-cherished dream was fulfilled in the summer- a visit to the Taj Mahal. It is sometimes very surprising to know that people of a country don’t get to see the monuments in their own country but see monuments and places of interest outside their motherland. Yes, this was my first visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, though I was born and brought up in India. Somehow, never got a chance to go on a vacation to Delhi and Agra when we were growing up. Well, better late than never… Saw both the places now!

It was so overwhelming to see the Taj in its gigantic size and beautiful shape. It was beyond my imagination that it would be such a huge monument. Though I had read a lot about the Taj and saw a lot of pictures of it, it somehow was a totally new and profound experience seeing it live. And that too, when the first rays of sunlight fell on the white marble, it shone like the blushing of a bride. After all the photo sessions with the family and taking a tour of it…. Before we came out of that place…. I stood for a moment, took the Taj in my mind and memory, and with admiration reflected on how it might have been built and felt a sense of pride that I belonged to this country where this was built. It sure was a romantic experience in itself, walking with my husband thinking of ourselves as Shah Jahan and Mumtaz!! I sure would love to see it again in the future. Maybe, next time, I would get a chance to see its beauty on a full moon night… they say that it looks like heaven on earth!

This was almost the same kind of feeling I had when I first visited the Niagara Falls. I still sometimes feel that I can hear the sound of the falls. Yes, it sounds silly! But the kind of impact it had on me the first time I saw it, was unique. Or so I thought! But then, every time I visited Niagara after that with family, cousins or friends, I always was awed by its splendor. It’s like first love… always special! 😊

Delhi. The capital city of India. This city gave some good memories too as we walked the streets of old Delhi, or crossed the roads near the India Gate, a royal feeling prevailed. The roads that the Prime ministers move around on are the ones that we were on… Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial was tranquil as it was the quietest place in the fast-paced city. Each fort in Delhi had a different architecture, some reflecting the Mughals and some the Hindu kings. I never saw secularism in any place as I did in Delhi. I could say that about fashion and dressing too. You could see the burkha clad ladies, as well as short-skirted girls. Girls dressed in the latest salwar suits as well as ladies dressed in the old-fashioned Punjabi suits. Well, in the week that I spent there my perception was this… I felt that the people here were very lively and lived life to the fullest.

The hot scorching sun in Rajasthan burnt our skin but not our spirits. In fact, it brought out the color and grandeur in our dressing as we moved from one palace to the other. As we took in the majestic walls of the palaces, a sense of belongingness to the history of India made me sigh with relief that I made it, to see these historic places. Though we were not able to see all the places in Rajasthan, just Jaipur and Udaipur itself made us come back happy and satiated. And of course, the authentic Rajasthani food and the shopping for Indian clothes, added to our happiness, for sure.

Well, though not the same, but, when I first came to the US and went to Disneyland in California, I felt mesmerized to see the grandness and happiness that was spread everywhere. I know, we haven’t seen much of the historic monuments of the US, except for Statue of Liberty. Of course, since there were no kings or kingdoms in the US, and so, the grand Palaces are missing here. That reminds me of my visit to the UK some years back. That was another place that has majestic palaces in the middle of beautiful greenery, both in England and Scotland. A write-up for another day, in the next decade!

But, before I leave this writing, this year and this decade, well, I would love to know what you did last summer! Please do tell me in the comments below!