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Chance encounters

June 24, 2012

There are some moments and some people you meet who resonate with you. In Agra, at the Taj Mahal, Jon and I met four women on their own pilgrimage to the Taj.  Throughout our trip to Agra, it seemed like every family wanted to take a picture with us. On our way out of the Taj, I spotted four women whose picture I wanted to take.

Why? Four ladies in Saris are nothing new in India. But these women had something special about them. They were sitting on the floor of the exit, in everyone’s way and barely noticing. Their brightly colored sari’s were tied in an old fashioned way, and they sat chattering and resting their feet in the cool shade of the exit hall.

As throngs of people asked to take a picture with Jon and barged up into my face to snap a phone pic of the gori, we approached these three. In broken Hindi, I attempted to ask if could we capture this vision of them, sitting so calmly in  the mob. They misunderstood, in the sweetest way. These elderly women leapt to their feet and grabbed my hands, pulling me closer to them and bowing their heads over and over. Their excitement that I had asked them hastened their chatter as they told me a flurry of questions  in a language I couldn’t begin to understand. . Their traditional greeting and saris pulled up over their heads made me think they must be from some small town or village, less cosmopolitan than Bombay or Delhi.

We took a hurried picture as visitors trickled out of the Taj. The sun was so bright coming through the lattice work and the women stood still for such a short time, that none came out. 


But to our surprise, we ran into them later that day at the Agra Fort train station sitting, again, in the middle of everything with their chappals kicked off and hugging their knees. After deliberating about how to get back to Jaipur and which station to go to, Jon and I had chosen Agra Fort.  And so had our friends.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 20, 2012 3:39 pm

    So nice of them. I quite like their attitude to crowds, best to be oblivious to crowds. The place is flooded with light. Must’ve been a cheery day.

    From their looks, and from the sari one of the women is wearing, it’s possible they’re from Karnataka, in which case they might’ve spoken in Kannada, probably Muslim women, else they’d belong to the Lingayat community. Just a guess. I could be wrong.

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