There comes a time in your life where you go to see the Taj Mahal. I did this morning. In the dawn light, under a still lingering topaz moon so perfectly round and so astonishingly big it looked like it had been art directed.
At 5:45 a.m. Agra is cool, almost cold and my Bangalore conditioned body felt right at home, revelling in the cold air.
You see the dome first. It seems to arrive - silently, pale and ghostlike, so familiar and yet the beauty, outside of a postcard, the reality of it is so startling. In moments, following the rest of the crowd, you see the entire structure. White marble sitting gracefully against a pale sky. The air as cool as the marble, the atmospheric echo of the work of art.
Symmetry, delicacy, intricacy. A marvel of architecture. Of mathematical precision. Of wondrous beauty.
I did not think of love. I thought more of grace. The Yamuna flows behind it. Meandering in her ancient way.
I thought I didn't care much for the man made being more in tune with natural phenomena. But the Taj stayed with me. Had me under her quiet spell. The sun woke and deep, orange gold washed the morning sky. It occured to me there is never a best time for the Taj. She is beautiful in different ways at different times.
I'm glad I came to see her. At Lab Nilaya, we are immersed in patterns. So there is always a part of me that pauses at patterns. I know about them through my research on wallcoverings. I see the two toned chevrons decorating the outer walls of the Taj, the graceful scrollwork inlaid in the marble and I understand that decorating is a universal language. These simple lines, these motifs are our expressions and whether we are in a Western country, Turkey or Iran or India, they recur reminding us of our connection to each other. That is what the Taj means to me - connection.