» Agra Diary »
Zanzibar? Irian Jaya? As I dithered over a unique vacation for my 12-year-old, he announced Agra. That's easy, I breathed, set aside my congenital fly-now-pay-later tendency and opened up Mughal history and Raghu Rai. But wait, he meant the Taj View Hotel where he could flick channels, bounce on its beds and "use its facilities". The only tombs he was keen on were those of Shah Jehan and Akbar. Also, he questioned—with the morbid curiosity typical of fuzzy upper-lips—would royal bones be found if those ancient resting-places were dug up? I droned about grave-robbers and great kings, curses and pietra
Fingers had been cut off, he declared darkly, but relented. After winding our way through the metropolitan mess called Agra, where we're shortly to hold our Summit, we arrived at the parking lot, a kilometer away from the Taj Mahal itself. No cellphones, no umbrellas, no pan masala, no cigarettes, nothing but "ladies' handbags", read a signboard, but we nodded our tacit approval and left behind our rain protection.