Monday, 15 February 2010



A hole

Been here before

And it was a hole then

But coming from the south

Where everything is easier

Where there’s far less touting and tourist bollocks

It seems even more of a right pain

… we will adjust to North India

But still, this is a hole

Despite the fact that as I write a mullah is declaiming from his minaret and it sounds gorgeous , wafting stridently ... if you can waft stridently… in through the window

… what a random difference the mullah could make in a muslim’s life

Some have gorgeous voices

Deep and sonorous and powerful

Some have a depth to their high wail which goes nicely through you

While some are thin and reedy, nasal… and downright unpleasant to listen to

You wouldn’t want them singing

And you wouldn’t want them as the mullah calling you to prayer for your whole life

Its like in Old Italy, where many people would only ever see one painting in their whole life

The one in the church

Which would certainly focus the efforts of the artist

But also makes you ask

What if the painting was crap?

… it would make a fair difference to your religious life

If the painting was good

If the vicar gave good sermon

If the mullah calling you to prayer for decades had a great or lousy voice

It would, wouldn’t it?

Like the amazing English teacher who makes you fall in love with literature

Which certainly didn’t happen to me in my hard comprehensive on the wrong side of the A30

But still, a hole

At least there’s no mosquitoes

They died of cold…

Speaking of which, we both caught a mild chill on the overnight train from Aurangabad

20 hours surrounded by friendly sikhs

Next stop Allahabad

So that some serious distance we’re suddenly covering

But maybe we’ll find somewhere to sop a while

Chitrakut or Varanasi

But, speaking of “one” thing

Agra has one thing going for it

One big thing

One thing you have to come for no matter how much you know it’s a hole

One thing you have to come back for no matter how much you remember it as a hole

The Taj

The gobsmacking Taj

The so beautiful its difficult to describe Taj

The most beauteous of greys

The most perfectly formed

The most good-looking building either of us have ever seen

The Taj

Its over ten quid to get in but if it was 30 you’d probably still pay it

Cos it’s the Taj

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