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Everyone has their own favorite time to see the Taj Mahal. Crowds will distract you from the cool, serene presence of this flawless monument. The best way is to try arriving just as it opens or as it is about to close. A few minutes alone in the perpetually echoing inner sanctum will reward you far more than several hours spent on a guided tour. The sensuously curving lines of the temple of love demand to be savored without interruption, then the presence of the building itself will impart its own message.

The tombs of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal are actually located in a shadowy burial crypt. At ground level, in the very center of the building is the cenotaph dedicated to Mumtaz. If you sing in the inner shrine of the monument, the notes will float upwards in a flow of music of the spheres. This event was very influential in the time of its occurrence because looking at this building, you will see how much love there is and how strong this love stood. It represents so much to many of the visitors on different levels.

It has really affected my life because I feel very proud of my Indian heritage and how I can go to my homeland and have the chance to see a monument I can be very proud of. I’m so happy that India has one of the great wonders that I can admire and tell about to others. I hope to gain a lot of knowledge about the Taj Mahal whenever I go there. Just to experience it in person and to admire the beauty and artistic views would be amazing.

I think what inspired me the most was the strong love between Shah and Mumtaz. To have such a love would make such a relationship grow and blossom solidly. I just hope in my life that I can find the right person and experience the love and solid trust that Shah and Mumtaz had between them. This event will be important to me in an hundred years because this is a part of my Indian background. I’m going to teach this story to my children and I hope it will be passed on down throughout the coming generations. It is just so interesting on how it all came together and how unique it is today.

Under the full moon, the pearly white exterior is shrouded in mystery. That would be love, the greatest mystery of all. In India, take the time you will be spending there to learn and gain new perspectives. Someday you can use the stuff that you have learned and apply it to your daily relationship and acquire the “eternal love” that Shah and Mumtaz created.

a”NEW DELHI”..a place where u get everything and a place where u get to know about everything of the mughal emperor… Instead, it was a really positive experience – the city didn’t seem that grimy or too touristy but we were only there for two full days so only scratched the surface!

We started off at LODHI GARDENS, which was actually a really good way to start off as it was very very peaceful – not many people at all in the park. Some beautiful old tombs to walk around in.

We then walked to KHAN MARKET and had lunch there. Quite a nice market area but you do get a feeling that some of the shops are aimed at the expat/tourist crowd.

INDIA GATE – not really worth the token visit if time is limited although good place to people watch – all the ladies were beautifully dressed.

HUMAYUN’S TOMB – as advised by the guide book, we went at the end of the afternoon – beautiful light that brings out the colour of the red sandstone buildings. Beautiful architecture and lovely gardens. It would have been nice to do an improvised “tea time picnic” like some of the Indian families were doing! Once again, despite the tourists, it was quite peaceful.

RED FORT – very impressive from the outside given the height of the walls. You walk first through a line of souvenir shops that are within the complex and then arrive to a large open area. This is what surprised me at the beginning of the visit – seeing such an impressive exterior, I expected the interior to be huge. Nevertheless, it is a stunning example of Moghal
architecture – the use of semi-precious stones, marble and red sandstone and carvings were absolutely breathttaking. The gardens/grounds are also very pleasant with channels and fountains that would have been even more charming had they been in operation The highlight of the Delhi trip was a “hope walk” with a charity where a guide takes you around the back streets and bazaars of OLD DELHI. I must say that the tour was slightly oriented around the life and times of a Sufi priest but it was definitely an eye-opener. So much life in those back streets – food stalls, kids running around, people everywhere, bicycles and motorbikes careening around…In one part of the bazaar, we went to a type of outside mosque/shrine where we were lucky enough to watch and listen to qawwali music (Sufi devotional hymes or music). Chandni chowk—– hazrat nizamuddin—- institutional hub—— corporate———— janpath——CP

Food wise, you have- al-karim at purani delhi and shawarma at nfc….. to the SARAVANA BHAVAN (near Connaught Place) – a typical Indian restaurant which did delicious thalis and masala dhosa’s (I’m of Indian origin so talking with experience!). Band shows at Purana Quila, hard rock cafe, garden of five senses etc… international music lovers…

What happens when a filmmaker who cites Emir Kusturica’s Underground (1995) as one of his favorite films decides to make a film inspired and partially based on O Henry’s short story `The Last Leaf? He then decides to give the story a personal touch and weaves altogether a new tale of love, longing and essential drama around it. The result is a film like Lootera. On a primary note if there is anything this movie stands for, it is perhaps the typical embodiment of how a movie should play before an audience like a classic piece of music or to be more precise, Opera. The whole film is seamlessly woven with music making it an integral part of the film narration. The story of the film has all the right elements in its place, craftily-woven around a short-piece of English literature. Where it scores is the fact that the result is a unique one. This is certain.

Keenly understood are the demands of the story, hence the setting is the 1950s. Period romance it is, yes, but much more it longs to be and this sincere longing is the strength of Lootera. Here is the ideal raw material for a love story where a rich woman falls in love with a guy who is struggling between love and his predestined fate. The energy of this romance gone wrong inherently is derived from here only. The scale of the movie constantly unfolds over a period of time encompassing tragedy, self-fulfillment and eternal hope in the picture. Elements of a classic? Although the director deserves respect having attempted this movie on a unique creative note, still with all the longing and poetic beauty it exudes, the movie falters on the grounds of flow in narration in classical movie-going tradition.

The use of silence is novel in the film although does not do much to drive the story in an organic fashion. Instead it aims to freeze those particular moments of intimacy and chemistry between lovers which would go down well with those who have the appetite for Arthouse movies and/or want to see something fresh.There is nothing wrong with that approach as some of the greatest movies employ it in their own style. But with Lootera, a movie with a heavy under current of nostalgia and romance, it somehow misses bringing this across. The use of music is simply brilliant and Amit Trivedi(Music Director) emerges as an auteur in his art. In this case frequently referencing the classical music; deviant from his signature style.

The photography is top-notch and is responsible for recreating the scenic period beauty. Although a little excess on aesthetic grounds, that it sometimes takes away the attention from the film itself. Still it is masterfully done. Acting is really good. Ranveer has acted with all honesty and heart although it will take him some more time to seamlessly don these character roles. Sonakshi Sinha has given an effortless performance; this is one of the highlights of her career. Remarkable is the character of Adil Hussain as police officer as his is the character which simultaneously reveals a lot about authority and human nature on a deeper analysis. Once Nietzsche said “one who fights the monster must take take that he himself does not become a monster”.

Perhaps this explains him the best as somewhere his duty becomes a personal agenda for him and revenge steps in the picture, hence he falters on human grounds. Groundbreaking point made here. When the film ends, one can say with assurance that Indian cinema is currently going through one of its interesting and exciting phases and films like Lootera will continue to explore the vast possibilities it continues to offer. Before signing off I would like to cite a line from Iranian Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami from one of his interviews, “There are some movies which have flaws in it and while watching the film one is also aware of that”. Later when you come out of the theater, you feel the honesty of the movie and it stays with you. Lootera is, indeed, that kind of movie.

4. A BOOK THAT I READ RECENTLY- THE GODFATHER by MARIO PUZO Over the past term I read Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. The book itself is an action packed crime novel that revolves around the Corleone crime family.

The main character in this book is Michael Corleone, the Godfather’s son. Michael was introduced in the novel as a young man in his twenties who did not want to be involved with the family business. The book reveals that Michael enrolled in college to become a lawyer in order to escape the family. Michael ends up dropping out of college and enlists in the Marine Corps to fight in the Pacific even with his father’s misgivings. Michael was awarded a Navy Cross for bravery and was then discharged in 1945 to recover from battle, later meeting his future wife Kay Adams.

In 1945 after a failed assignation attempt on Michael’s father Vito Corleone, Michael is thrown back into the world he had avoided for so long and volunteers to kill both men responsible. After he murdered the two men Michael fled to Sicily and whilst in Sicily, Michael discovers that his elder brother Sonny has been murdered. Michael returns to New York where he becomes fully associated with the family and involved in the criminal enterprise. A year later Michael marries Kay Adams and in 1954 his father Don Corleone retires making Michael the new Don (Head of the family).

My favourite character in the book is Michael Corleone, a quiet and intelligent man. At the start of the book Michael didn’t want to be involved in his family’s business and the twist that I loved in the book was that this choice was taken away from him. I think this made Michael a more interesting character.

Overall I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone that wants a good read and is interested in the mafia. It’s a great crime thriller
with lots of twists and very catchy quotes, such as “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The book was a fantastic read and I will be reading the sequel. I would rate this book 4/5 for its

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