My older one just went : Wow!! ma! and the younger 'silenced' brat, ' awesome!' Yes that is how I started off my holiday. A trip to Agra, Delhi and Amritsar. Before I left, I was a wee bit worried, that ,my kids would go "so boring! , so?!! ". I was so thrilled when they were more eager than I ( I have seen it and of course knew all about the place). The small details, the lovely inlay work had them cooing and wow'ing all over. They made us take them on the tonga( the horse carraiges) rides, to the monument...not the bus for them. They walked all over, plain white paper in hand, made some lovely pencil rubbings of the textures on them. It really made me wonder, if we actually underestimate our kids and their quest for something new.
My son, had just studied all about Mughal history for his finals a few days before, of course with nothing making sense( They can't understand why they need to study something that has long gone past and if we actually need to?!!) . But these sandstone, marble fairytales, perked his interest. He could understand what they meant, when they said ' Diwan-e-aam' ,the detailing of the various artisans...the Persians who contributed their architectural knowledge, etc..One must visit the Taj and of course the Fort at Agra, to know what I mean here ,reading about them, doesn't justify the poetry...it takes your breath away!.
This was one trip I was looking forward to, not only because my sister lived there but I had to satisfy my taste buds, and experience all the quaint lil joints that one sees on the television or hears about. I trudged along, fragrances, flavours mingling with our olfactory senses, the Chandni Chowk, drooling over Ghantewala sweets , the Haldirams, the lassi joints, the chaats and fished out the teeny weeny lane that served you 'sinful, yummy and out of the world' parathas. .at the Paranthewale Galli. When I saw the paranthas being made in a small 3' * 3' space...I wondered what they could manage. The shops ( I wouldnt call it a hotel or restaurant...is a small 10ft by 12 ft space,teeming with customers, who gulp down parathas as if they were famished. I smiled as I entered..I had heard of this place ( thanks to the TV channels and its endless journeys through the country's culinary delights!), but when I saw the desi ghee used to drown the parathas, I gulped...there went my hopes of maintaining my weight..sat down and downed not one but 5 of those very tasty, surprisingly non-greasy, and light parathas. I finished off the marathon with a kela parantha and a rabdi ( gulp!! ) parantha...and I came out never feeling better...No wonder these Delhiites love their Delhi...
We also made a trip to Amritsar, where I feasted my eyes on the Golden Temple. Such amazing serenity envelops you when you enter this place, that it brought a lump to my throat. Beautiful and standing majestic in the centre of an expanse of the sarovar, pristine clean surroundings, inspite of catering to thousands and people thronging the the sarovar ...one would expect slush, mess, watered walkways....none of it...the scores of volunteers, are at it, cleaning up and drying down ...it humbles you.
One evening we taxi'ed ourselves to the Wagah Border , to watch the famed retreat . Wagah located 30 kms from Amritsar, brought forth such lovely emotions. Patriotic spirit set aside, (thats what it is meant to bring forth)...the sight of the LOC, stretches , something that I had heard so often and and read in the media, was real!! The ceremony itself was interesting, with the 2 countries distanced by just a gate!! The BSF men marching to orders, and bringing down the flag with such accuracy, that no, one flag inches lower than the other. The thousands of visitors, screaming themselves hoarse....It was a bit dramatic but still so hair-rising. I'm so glad I managed to make this trip. It was worth my time.
A lovely holiday packed with lots of memories, ones that brought a smile to my eyes, some that left a twinkle in the eyes of the children., some a lump in the throat, and others a feeling of sheer magic. I'm so glad I did this...its brought me back with such precious moments, ones that I will hold dear.