Rajasthan & Agra: Class VI Excursion
by Riad Mahmood
Subject: Agra, The Road to Wonder
Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2013 13:01:21 +0530
Our journey from Jaipur to Agra was pleasant. The children spent some time chatting and looking at the beautiful countryside. They also had a discussion with Hedwige about all kinds of things. She patiently answered their questions that went from the Taj Mahal to Belgian chocolates.
As you drive into Agra you get a sense of the past. If you are accompanied by a knowledgeable person, you are jogged down memory lane and start to imagine what all this history could have been. My paternal grandmother hails from Agra and so I was trying to recollect some of the things she would talk about.
We reached famished and went straight to lunch. The food starts to taste a tad bit different as you move from state to state. So does the rice in some way. The rotis dont really change until, I am told, you get to Punjab. All said and done the dal and roti are just out of this world! Being from the south of India we were happy to experience North Indian cuisine the way it should be. Like the sambar of the South! It just doesnt taste the same once you start to move away.
The minute you get to the Taj the first thing that hits you are the massive crowds outside.The streets that lead you there are filled with people. Tons of Indians and lots of foreigners. It's almost like waiting to enter a stadium. We managed our way through the crowds keeping the children close to us. It is also season time and the place is hard to negotiate. The sheer magnitude of the monument is what gets you. An extremely powerful and gripping sight. When we were through with the visit we decided to treat the children to some fabulous 'Petha', the local sweet, It was a treat for sure.
The next day took us to Fatehpur Sikhri. Another astonishingly well designed and constructed monument. All of us enjoyed the visit. It is amazing to see how the local hawkers and sellers make a living at these places day in and day out. They are all over the place. A sight not so common to the Bangalorean. The simplicity of the people around, the little children also making a living is something very different to what we see every day. I am sure our children did soak in the environment.
It has been quite a bit of travelling and we have been having a good time. The teachers are focused on giving the children all the reassurance they need as well as giving them an opportunity to learn. I am sure this trip will be remembered by many in time to come. I have just got the news that I have lost my grandmother. As I said earlier she hailed from Agra and her memories keep coming back. I have not told the children yet. I guess this is my grief and I need to be there for them. Any which way I will miss the funeral as it is in a few hours.
Life is always going to be unceratin and I guess grief and joys do become somewhat of an internal sentiment - one that only the aggrieved can know and feel. I have decided to hold on to the wonderful memories I have of her and look ahead. She was a strong person who believed in what you have to do. I have seen her lose a son and a husband in her lifetime. The way she handled things was something I learned from. Right now the thought of seeing the children through the trip is motivating.
Thanks for reading. This may make sense to the children in time to come. Right now I guess it stays in the mailbox. These children are special as they are the future and who knows what they will become in time to come. I am sure they will impact those around them one day. These are memories we can store for them.
Founder, Head Start Educational Academy