Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Taj, the New World Wonder
Bill Clinton once said, that there two kinds of people in the world - those who have visited the Taj Mahal and those who haven’t.
Many moons before Clinton made the statement a bunch of British colonialists who visited the Taj Mahal looked long and hard at this man-made wonder and proclaimed.. ‘What a waste of Marble’. My thoughts exactly!
Call me a hopeless unromantic, but really it’s the most grossly overrated piece of real-estate on the planet!
But now that it’s official, the Indians are quite obviously ecstatic, finally something to vindicate for the embarrassment caused by Bangladeshi cricket team, and then by that coach who to take up the team India job. They tell me it’s was quite a campaign for the Taj, with everyone SMSing to vote, and Orkut being filled with ‘Vote for Taj’ messages.
But let’s take a step back here; wasn’t the Sigirya supposed to be the 8th wonder of the world?
Well it turns out the Environmental Ministry (a.k.a JHU HQ) didn’t feel it fit in well with the ‘Sri Lankan culture’. I mean a huge rock with paintings of naked women with large boobs, built by a guy who was hiding from his brother having murdered his father, by burying him in a wall! Hah! Sounds like a story cocked up by the opposition, or other ‘elements trying to discredit the government’, surely that sort of cultural infidelity didn’t exist in the 2500 years of history in this country!.
But Truth be told, nobody really knows what happened to Sigirya, who cares? There are far better stuff to know about - Mervin and his Porsche for example.
Now Taj Mahal on the other hand has a far better story than the sigirya, one of love (pyaar) and that too for your own wife! Clearly a significant achievement given the times, just ask kashyapa; Or DM Jayaratne for that matter.
But Bill was right; you have to visit the place. At least to realize that it’s overrated.
But I’m being too mean to the great Mahal, it’s a majestic structure, it so happened that it was scorching hot the day I visited to the extent that any ‘romance’ that were there must have evaporated. Not that I had any love interest on site, even if I did I was rather pre-occupied looking for a safe place to keep my foot in the burning marble.
But I’m glad I went (multi-part travelogue coming soon) and what can I say, I’m flattered by the fact that they made it a world wonder soon after.