Cast in Stone

Krakow, Poland

Stand alone, 
Cast in stone,

Staring at the passers by,
The rustle of the leaves that dry.
The hurrying wind so cold,
To play along - we are told!

The trees that sway with the wind
Flutter of the pigeons that sing
Silent, stony notes are rhymed
There is no track of time.

We are captured for the nth number
Are we awake or in slumber!
The pose we strike, Angles alike, 
The picture stays, memories linger!

Of us, 
Cast in stone,
We stand alone!

Taj Mahal

It has been written about scores of times. Endless amount of praise, endless amount of debate, endless amount of politics and the romance around this monument. Books written on it. Movies made on it. Songs sung for it. And yet all of this does not prepare you for the splendor and beauty that hits you when you see the Taj Mahal for the first time.

Yes - in the break before joining my new job, I had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal. The mention of it here --> Report Card is not exactly justice to the visit and the monument. It makes me wonder, why didn't I visit it before during my innumerable visits to Delhi to meet my innumerable relatives and friends. But anyways, better late than never. 

I don't think I am good at taking pictures, but I try nevertheless. Missed my DSLR here but got my fill with the digital camera. Not sure, if the output would be as great but nevertheless. Visited the Taj twice - in two days. Once during the evening and the very next early morning. We just kept staring it. 

Even after going to the Taj Mahal twice in a row, didn't feel it was enough. There is one view yet remaining. The one from across the river Yamuna on a full moon night.

Perhaps, some other time :-)

Warsaw, Poland

Had gone to Warsaw, Poland as part of work earlier in January. Just after finishing off the new year celebrations. On the night of 1st January, I took off on a 9 hour flight to Warsaw. Nice, quite place. Neat and Clean. Fewer people on the roads (which was almost a cultural shock for me). It was pretty cold. Temperature ranging from 2 deg till 5 deg. Travelling alone is not much of my preferred activities but when you are travelling for work, you got no choice. In your free time, one's got to do his / her own R&D. 

A giant Christmas Tree welcomes you along with the spirit of Christmas. The streets are lit up and you can come across odd groups of people singing carols on the streets in Polish of course. Further down, groups of students running to catch the last bus home. Sometimes, there is a drizzle. Indication of snowfall just around the corner. Which just makes you yearn for a hot cup of coffee and cookies. I loved the bakeries there. Fresh, oven baked muffins and waffles. Would grab some, especially on my way to work in the morning. 
Market Square, Warsaw

Over the weekend, paid a visit to Krakow. Once upon a time the capital of Poland during the Nazi rule. Very similar to Warsaw in terms of architecture and history but found it more livelier. Especially the market square. Reminiscent of  eras gone by of the kings and the queens!!! Went to the St Mary's church of Basilica, the art musuem, Schindler's factory, the Jewish Ghetto and the fort of Wawel. Couple of hours in a day were just too less. 

What was common between Krakow and Warsaw was the strong impact of World War II and the end of the communist regime 30 years back. The art, the museums and majority of the conversations express the history of war the nation had to face. Sometimes, war is all people have to give to their children. The remnants of War become the stories to pass on by. Because everything was razed very systematically by the Nazis when they left the country. 

But also on a lighter note, what was common between Poland and India, was an artist (read sanyasi / baba) managing to position itself in the air!!!! ;-) Just the way our famed choti wale, saffron clad, barefooted babas do :-).

There's so much to write about my two week stay over there, but I guess I wont be able to do justice to it. But will keeping posting intermittently about the people, culture and comparisons.