It has been another of those days which I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Alongside seeing the Grand Canyon and visiting the Louvre, I can now say I have been to the Taj Mahal. Even before that, though, today was already rather special, as this morning I had my first real shave with a cut throat razor. We drove to Agra from Delhi yesterday and, my face overdue for a trim, John suggested we visit a barbershop after breakfast.
It was quite amazing. I have always been shaved using an ordinary safety razor because I move my head too much to use anything else. The idea of using an old fashioned cut throat razor was almost suicidal. Today though, the heat of India meant I was relaxed enough for me to have a proper old fashioned shave, and for the first few cuts the barber was able to shave me comfortably. After that he got an assistant to hold my head still, but even so I was calm and relaxed enough to come out of the shop without spilling any blood.
That in itself would have been worthy of a blog entry, but this afternoon was even more special. The Taj Mahal is surely one of the wonders of the world. It is sublimely beautiful, although it must be said there were too many stairs so I could not get around in my chair. I had to climb a flight of extremely steep stairs, but it was well worth the effort: I have never seen a more beautiful building, and the view from the top terrace was staggering. What a monument for a man to build for his fourteenth wife.
Not a bad day at all, then. Yet perhaps the most touching moment for me was when, as John, Anna and me were walking up to the mighty building, we passed a family with a guy with severe cerebral palsy. He was about my age I guess, but had no obvious way to communicate. I made a point of saying hi to him, and the look on his face when he realised I was addressing him directly was incredible. I don’t think he gets spoken to that very often, people with his level of disability being very rare here; I think being addressed as a normal human being was quite a novel experience for him, but one I was happy to facilitate.