Ahad, 5 Februari 2017

Journey To The Land of The Mughals (Part 2)

I had always been so apprehensive about how he would retort when he first put his glance on me in person, however the bliss and enthusiasm which had wrapped me up that evening, made me naive over his judgment and whether he had favorably taken me that night at the airport. What mattered most to me was that we were now together and that for the next five days we would make full use of the limited time being in high spirits and joyful.

I failed to judge his mind through his facial expressions as he often looked calm and gentle. I predicted that he wouldn't want to hurt my feelings and hence spoiled the whole trip. Even so, I sensed his displeasure - the nonfulfillment of his hopes and expectations. I was certain that he just would not want to let out his dissapointment just yet. He would treat me with great hospitality as I was his guest even if he discovered that I was not as what he hoped for. Those were his vows and assurance  on every occasion when  I was in doubt. And he did keep his words and promises.  I should only have to be appreciative and grateful for his good care and concern to my well-being, comfort and safety as well as his great tolerance during the five-day stay. I should just have to keep on coping with the situation and that I must never be sentimental and emotional. I had come up to this far and let just accept things as they were - either good, bad or pain. I would bear and endure everything as I came here humbly on my own free will, neither to gain nor hope for more than just some respect and care as a human being, as a visitor and an over night guest. And he had gladly given me the most wonderful experience- going sightseeing at almost all the amazing places of interest around Delhi which I owed him a great favour all my life.

He had taken me around as far as Agra, a city on the bank of the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh to gap at one of the wonders of the world - The Majestic Taj Mahal built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jehan in remembrance of his most cherished wife, Mumtaz who died giving birth to his 14th child.

It was first thing in the morning the next day, Thursday 26 January, we set off to the first capital of the Moghul Empire, 300 kilometres away from New Delhi, firstly on an auto bike, then to the terminal where we would board a bus, travelling along the Yamuna Expressway.  We left the Exotica Greenpark Hotel just after dawn and it was still dark but the air was so refreshingly cool. Not long after that, we got off at a roadside under a fly-over before we boarded an old dented, non- air conditioned bus. It was already full of passengers and we were seated at the second last two seats.

I thought to myself that I should not think or expect things would be as good as what we do have in Malaysia as this is India, one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Furthermore this was suppose to be a lifetime endeavor and that I should not be overparticular and picky. Anyway it was quite untroubled as I like the cool setting and more importantly I was with someone reliable and dear sitting next to me. Yet I was a bit not at ease by the rough and uneven roads. The whole journey was jerky and bone-shaking. I was sitting by the window and the views were not picturesque unexpectedly. Indeed India lacks of greenery and landscaping. My dear buddy was a day time sleeper and thus being on a bus at this very hour of the day was torturing to him. He was struggling to stay awake and that I offered him to have himself bend over on my lap to help him feel comfortable enough to at least fall asleep. Later on I caught sight a tall cone- shaped architecture, having the similarity to a lighthouse but there was smoke coming out from the tip of the cone.  I was made clear that they were actually kilns where bricks for building houses were processed. It was an interesting view indeed.

After a few hours the bus took a break for a couple of minutes at a rest station I supposed, but in contrary to what we have in Malaysia. It was not as busy and exciting as at the various Rest & Relax Stations alloted and positioned along our highways. Normally the R&Rs were loaded with tourists, travellers and road users drinking and eating at the food outlets and eateries. Here, the place was rather quiet and less busy.

The passengers started to get off the bus to get refreshments and easing themselves. To save time, we just grabbed two bottles of sweet cold drinks and a packet of crispies at the mini cafe for snacking.  My partner left me for a while to get him some cigars  when an Indian couple who was on the same bus noticed me struggling with the bottle cap that the husband offered an assistance to get it opened. I thanked him as I smiled at the wife who kept ogling me strangely as I knew I looked so unlikely. It was only a short halt and the journey continued.  As we traveled further, the landscape began to vary as we got nearer the city.

I began to observe rows of houses and small brick shops all along the soiled roads. The few trees and plants found looked chalky and less green. We had finally reached the outskirt towns of the city. The traffic eventually got heavier and the move started to slow down as we were trapped in jams. The honking of all kinds of vehicles were deafening and unbearable but later I came to learn that they were the melodies of the Indian streets and it was a normalcy.  I recalled experiencing such similar noisy situation during my trip to Indonesia a few years ago. I found it a troublesome as it was an uncommon scene for road users in our streets to keep honking continuously in the middle of busy streets and jams, but here in India, it was their rap music.

The bus finally arrived at its destination in front of the gate entrance of the Agra Fort. From there we made a decision to firstly checked in at our pre-reserved accomodation at the Tara Optimum Hotel before we carried on with our next iterinary for the day.

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