I am not one for souveniers. They just add to the baggage. Back in high school, studying Ceaser’s Gallic Wars, I learned that the Roman military word for baggage is “impedimenta”; just something that gets in the way.
So, last night, following the magic of sunset at the Taj Mahal – and the repeated but different magic of sunrise there this morning, I ignored the cries and pleadings of the pestering swarms of sellers of postcards, miniatures of the Taj in bottles, sculptures, etc.
But today, thanks to the the anonymous man who shared my railway compartment – and who coughed in my face two nights ago for 14 hours from Varanasi to Agra without once covering his mouth – I am carrying away a highly personal memento in the form of the same nasty, hard, dry, unproductive hack that he had.
This evening, I’ll take the night train to Mumbai. Maybe I can give it back?
FOR AN UPDATE SEE MY OCT 30 REPORT