A whirlwind bus tour of the Golden Triangle

An eagle soaring above the crowded masses. Masses milling about barging.  The Taj’s ethereal aloofness.  Spicy smell.  Drain smells.  Choking dust.  Factory town.  Beautiful sites.  Terrible poverty.  Contorted beggars.  Pushy “salesmen”.  Starving animals.  Starving humans.  Welcoming smiles.  Beautiful girls.  Men holding hands.  Cows in the road.  Traffic chaos.  People lying sleeping in the streets.  Richer people in a tent.  Richer still, in a shack.  We are kings and queens.   We pass above the insanity not daring to touch it, breathe it.  There’s a fence up that we won’t cross for fear of being touched.  We want to keep it that way.  How many people actually give money?  How do these people survive?  They seem happy – some of them. Wings uplifted – soaring beauty.  Graceful lines over rounded domes.  Breathless splendour.  Peaceful in the crowds.  New Year’s Day brings saris drying in the sun.  Neatly stacked piles of cow dung.  Washing day.  Beds stacked outside.  Work doesn’t stop.  Relatively well off country villages with neat houses.  Fields of mustard flowers and the odd speck of sari working.  Men playing cards.  Faces smiling or frowning.  Hands reaching out as if for a blessing (more likely for money).  Village markets.  Piles of spices.  Every useful thing known to man sold or made.  Rows of cut-throat barbers.  Tree shrines.  Pairs of peacocks wandering.  Pigs foraging.  Wash day at the fountain.  Camel carts and oxen pulling.  Over-loaded trucks, tuk tuks and bicycles.  Unbelievable roads.  “Horn please.”  Bright colours everywhere – saris and turquoise houses.  Train crossing stopping everything.  What was Grandad’s life like as a child?  What would it have been had he stayed?  What would my life be if I was like them?  Smiling?  Begging? Happy working in the fields? Tired of life? Back to civilisation and not feeling so good.  Shut myself away from the crowds to establish normality again.  A night of Pringles and Friends and no curry. Jaipur and pink – all building painted the same dodgy pink.  Poorly treated elephants lumbering up to the Amber fort laden with tourists.  Back to the crowds.  Always wanting, needing, begging, touching.  Time for shopping and more hassle even in a “hassle free” fixed price place.  A modern town designed for shopping.  Back to Delhi to a strange place in the middle of a suburb.  Children here are more pushy.  Music, dancing, full on spectacular spectacular…

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