I was contemplating on writing this post since I came back from vacation but was not sure what I should write about places already dubbed as heaven on earth or world wonders. And so I write about what I thought as I looked at two wonderful destinations in a way totally apart .
I visited Kashmir when it was not yet blooming in green as expected due to more snow this year. It was all trees with mostly bare branches or buds yet to bloom in their full glory and yet and yet.. it still can leaving you charmed . The mountains as you gaze make you recall why they say Himalayas protect India and their might descends upon you whether you want to or not.
The gondola ride in Gulmarg to Mount Arafat was one the best rides of my life .. so good that when I come back and look at pics I seriously wonder was that true or just a Bollywood movie.
The chilled temperatures made me assess my own ability to withstand such extreme weather (never mind that I packed very badly due to a busy schedule for a vacation which I was almost to cancel due to various troubles) . I finalized that for all I talk about nice cool places ,I need the sun every other day if nothing else.
The weather …ah the fresh air , never even realized till I came back that how good and healthy life feels with simple good food
and fresh cool air far away from computers.
That the tulip garden had still not bloomed fully broke my heart enough and as ever it was hard to drag myself off gardens and magnolia trees.
So terrible have we become in these cities that few of my friends when they saw the vase of a roadside dhaba hotel
with a big bunch of daffodils they were not sure that they were real.
For someone who loves nature more than anything else I guess it will be a understatement but after visiting Kashmir and then going to see the Taj was well seeing the difference between what man can create at his best and what nature can create with such ease.
Taj was certainly a beautiful thing to behold but still , as I was sitting beside a blue river
with trees on the side raising a toast to heaven and surrounded by snow capped imposing peaks a day before
I found it hard to be amazed and fall in love with cold white stunningly carved marble .
That I guess is just me .
I recall the beautiful Shalimar Bagh which even in its state of neglect is more loving than , if you bother to look at the back of the Taj. Its gross and extremely sad the way the government there milks the heritage in the city to the max due to it being a top destination for foreigners but does little to beautify the city in any way. Its as sad as it can be.
So we go on and laugh that Jahangir certainly had more life and loved Nur jahan more to create Shalimar bagh for her than Shah Jahan who created a tomb which while certainly stunning and imposing still feels a tomb only.
It was wonderful though when you walk through a city and fort where just a few hundred years ago kings and queens lived a daily life. It kind of stirs you to contemplate how fast we have moved ahead in just the last few centuries from electricity , air travel to mobile phones .
It was not my best vacation in terms of being able to relax with a mind constantly worried for things back home, and so I stll go by the Milton quote
"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven" and that is the struggle of my life for the past few years .