Here I am at the Taj Mahal – one of the most amazing places to visit in the world. It is so beautiful that I can’t help myself. I take picture after picture. Far away grandeur, close-up details. Photo after photo.
When we take the time to sit and contemplate the beauty before us, we notice something happening. People are looking at us. We couldn’t decide if we looked any more approachable than any other Westerners. But wherever we stopped, we were sitting ducks.
Some would ask. Some would try to be subtle and act like we just happened to be in the foreground of their photo. Some would shimmy their way in between us and hold each of our hands. When one was bold enough, others would follow suit. Soon we realized that we needed to, at least at a leisurely pace, keep on the move.
This is one girl whose parents had her between us for a photo.
As we proceeded around the grounds and through the mausoleum, we would periodically stop and sit. After a few minutes of peace, it would start again. Here we were at this monument built by Shah Jahan for the love of his life. It’s absolutely stunning, and they were excited over taking pictures of the Westerners.
At one point there was an elderly woman who wanted her picture taken with us. She got between us and wanted us to look a little more familiar so she put her arms around our backs as if we were longtime friends. Her husband decided to get in on the action and got on the other side of Ruth. Afterwards, he said, “Thanks for sharing our memory.”
I have no idea how many Indians have photos of us from that afternoon. A lot. But as Ruth and I talked and laughed about it, we figured it was the least we could do, seeing as we took photos of them all week.