New Delhi was nice. It was relaxing - as relaxing can be with my children. LOL!
I was in charge of organizing this trip. So I looked to all the things and attractions that Delhi had to offer. I ended up packing the days up, and even though we didn't do everything we were supposed to do, it was still a victory. It was super hot, and most of the time we had to walk under the sun to go from one place to another. I mean, we took taxis, but walking within the places we visited under this heat and humidity was really tiring for all of us. But the children were troopers. Emerson and I were troopers, as most of the time we ended giving them horsie rides.
After eating lunch in Old Delhi, we visited Jama Masjid. It is the biggest mosque in India. I expected it to be packed since it was Ramadan, but it wasn't. I like the mosques. They are peaceful places. And they are beautiful with all the Quranic inscriptions. I was watching a video the other day on the psychology of Islam. It talked about why Americans feel attracted to Islam and become Muslims from a psychological perspective. Heck, I feel like wearing a hijab. I don't know why we Christian women don't wear it. Christian women in India wear it when at church. Not all of them, tough, but there's a Bible verse for that.
People feel drawn to Islam according to this video. They want to belong. They go to this peaceful places, walk barefoot, they listen to the beautiful call to prayer in Arabic and they join. Americans lack discipline - not everybody anyway - but Islam gives them a sense of discipline. A Get-yourself-together kinda feeling. Anyway, this is just the opinion of the guy in the video. He is an Ex-Muslim. He is not a Christian either, so I don't think he is biased. I think he knows what he is talking about.
On Thursday, we went to the Mexican Embassy, which is the actual reason why we needed to go to Delhi in the first place. We needed to renew our passports. It is hard to believe it's been ten years since Emerson and I were dating and got our first passports together. Wow... this November it will be eleven years since we started dating. We've been together for a third of our lives!
I couldn't take a photo of the embassy, but it was fun to be there. They guy outside didn't want to let Emerson in as he couldn't believe Emerson was a Mexican citizen in need of passport renewal. He said Emerson looked Korean. In Singapore, people said Emerson looked Singaporean. Even in Mexico they have told him he looks Chinese. LOL! Then my daughter and my son were making noises, and I had to stop them from playing with the flag. I was so relieved when we left there.
After that, we went to Lotus Temple. I think is some kind of religious temple where people from all faiths can go and pray. It is very peaceful, too. And you have to be quiet all the time, and not making noises so that people can focus and pray. Good luck with that! So we just got in, looked around quickly, and took our munchkins out. That's it.
On Friday we visited another Islamic architecture - Qutab Minar - built by Mughal emperors. It is impressive. Emerson also wanted to visit there because of The Iron Pillar of Delhi. I guess this 23 ft pillar is amazing because it has never been subjected to corrosion, and it proves how skilled the Indian blacksmiths were. Big deal. I'm not kidding, I think it is a big deal for Emerson. I guess that if you were to take me to the prison where you knew for sure that Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy - weeks before dying - it would also be a big deal for me.
We also went to a temple called Akshardam, but we couldn't take pictures since it is not allowed. It is beautiful. The architecture is amazing and also marble. A lot of money goes into that temple.
On Saturday we went to the Taj Mahal. It is amazing. It is so white, it looks as if it were floating - just there. There is nothing behind it, so all you see is the sky. It is truly a very expensive master piece of architecture that you cannot even begin to value. Twenty-two thousand slaves working everyday for twenty-two years. Could you imagine that? Plus all the materials were given to this emperor for free - as gifts.
I think the Taj is supposed to represent Heaven on Earth. That was the idea. You can google it. It is a sad story, tough, because people focus so much on "LOVE" that they forget the rest of the story. Shah Jahan had three wives, and only one could give him children - or the most children (fourteen children of his sixteen). According to Islam you are allowed to marry up to four women, on the condition that you provide for them equally, and you love them equally. So, for me, that breaks the "love" story. Not because I am judging him for not keeping his religion. Everybody falls short. But the woman he loved the most died during the childbirth of the fourteenth children at the age of 40. Pretty young.
|The Gate to the Taj|
Then Jahan was put under house arrest by his own son, and could only look at the tomb waiting to be reunited with his beloved wife. The tombs of the other two wives are nothing compared to the Taj - obviously. But if this is the wife he loved the most then why did he make her pregnant again after the physicians warned him about her health condition? Then it is also said he had an affair with the sister of his beloved wife. Plus plenty of concubines. If that is not enough, he might have committed incest with his own daughter. And according to the interpreters of their religious law, this prohibited relationship would have been unjust to condemn because you couldn't deny the king the privilege of gathering fruit from the tree he himself had planted. Well, that's convenient...
I'm not pretending these kind of issues are not in the Bible. You should read the story of David and Bathsheba. How he gets aroused when he sees her bathing, has sex with her, and gets her pregnant. Then David tries to make the husband have sex with her to hide the pregnancy, but the husband refuses to have sex with her because they are at war. So David ends up putting him in front of the battle field so he dies. And then, finally, David marries Batsheba. This is the kind of story that make Muslims believe the Bible is corrupted because of all the "porn" and sin involved. Muslims believe all the Prophets never sinned. Fine, up to them. But I see beauty in all this sinning. I see broken people in need of a Savior. I see people recognizing their need for God.
David repents from all of this and God forgives him. God calls David a man after His own heart - after all that David has done. And God promises David that the Messiah would come from his blood line. Is that amazing or what!!
So call the Taj Majal a Love Story if you want to - the tour guide had to talk to us about something - but people ponder that the Taj Mahal is actually the effort of this emperor to prove his power, show off his wealth, and cover his guilt. I am in the habit of reading too much of too many things lately. And this proved shameful for me while interacting with my guide. He was telling us the story about the architect of the Taj Mahal having his hands cut off after he had finished building it.
It is said this was done in order that he would never build another mausoleum like this. So I asked the guide, "Are you sure that was the only reason? I mean, there were precious stones all over the place... What if he stole some? In some countries, under extreme circumstances, Sharia allows to cut off the hands of thieves".
To which the guide answers, "No, you are wrong. It was so he wouldn't build anything more beautiful than the Taj Mahal". Then he looks at me funny, and even tough he didn't open his mouth it, my mind enabled me to hear him saying, "Good for you, lady, for reading your Quran. But don't ask me any more questions". So I didn't.
But to wrap it up, the Taj Mahal is beautiful. It is something you have to see with your own eyes at least once in your lifetime. Emerson was so happy he was able to see it. He said he had always dreamed of it ever since he was a little boy. That was sweet. It was a first for the four of us :))
|Taj Mahal. Agra.|
July 4th, 2015
Children slept most of the drive home. And Sunday it was the last day in Delhi. We just relaxed at the hotel, we swam and then we flew back. We had a lot of fun. This trip was different from Singapore. There was not too much for the children to do. It was mostly historical places and such, and I don't think the children were into it, but I really enjoyed it.
Traveling has become far easier with them. I'm sad that they don't really need me all that much for many things. I'm relieved, but I miss the times when Mommy is all they needed. They still need me - who am I kidding? I cannot sleep at night. I'm done nursing, but they keep waking up in the middle of the night - almost at the same time - and they come camp in our bed. We probably should have refused, they were so well trained to sleep in their own beds before coming to India.
Emerson complains, but he is the first one telling Libby she can sleep with us when she actually asks, so... we are suckers for them. I'm sure one day they won't want or need to sleep with us anymore.
Until that day, I will survive on few hours of sleep, and coffee. I love my babies :)
|Tired and sweaty|
|At the door|