05 July 2009

Images of Beauty

The journeys we take as individual human beings can lead us to some extraordinarily beautiful places, relationships and ideas.

Here is a picture of one famous building I was fortunate enough to visit in my early twenties.





It was a quiet, cool November morning in Agra, and quite misty, too. I had a very kind and gentle rickshaw driver called Abdul who cycled me to the Taj Mahal before first light, and we arrived there shortly before the gates opened.

Once inside the garden, I was also fortunate enough to find someone who could take this photograph of me, sitting cross legged on a marble bench. I had no idea at the time that the Taj Mahal was a mausoleum. I thought it was a palace.


Our experiences of seeing the Taj Mahal, whether in real life or through images, are entirely personal. How I respond to seeing the above picture today is quite different from when the photograph was first printed.

Today, I see the Taj Mahal as a monument to all women and girls who have died or suffered serious injury as a consequence of pregnancy. Each one of those people would most likely have been cared for and, in the saddest of circumstances, mourned by someone, whether a friend, mother, sibling or spouse.

My own mother had a very difficult time giving birth to me, so I am very grateful for the medical care we both received as I came into the world.

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