Of all the trips that I have made to Agra, one stands out rather vividly in my memory. This goes back a few years, when I was living in Singapore, and had come to India during the winter holidays, to visit my parents.
We had hired a car, and had driven down to Agra with some good friends of ours. We were lucky. It was not a foggy December morning. It was rather pleasant in fact. However, being the rather lazy bums that we are, we left rather later than usual. Yet, we had to stop for tea on the way. I wanted to stop at a good old roadside Indian dhaba. But, my kids were too foreign at that time, and all they could say was ‘yuck’, at the sight of the dhabas. So instead, we stopped by at one of the various touristy points that dot the highway.
The place was nice enough, being as it was, on the edge of mustard fields. The yellow mustard flowers fluttered in the breeze, as I sat on the edge, basking in the sun, thinking back on my days of selling virgin mustard oil in Calcutta (Kolkatta, as it is called now). “Diesel”, is how our Head Office folks described virgin mustard oil. Still, the pungent, golden brown oil aroused fiery culinary passions in the breasts of many a good Bengali housewife.
Touristy stop offs, like the one where we had our mid way tea break do have the obligatory Rajasthani / local fellow, with kid, playing traditional music on traditional music. Colourful costumes and turbans not only send tourists into orgasms of delight, but they make for some nice photographic subjects. I have no clue where the above gent comes from, but experts on turbans can usually tell where a person comes from, from the manner in which turbans are tied. Someday, if I have the time, I will study this.
Time was up soon enough. It was time to move on to Agra..