Friday, January 23, 2009

An Island Again

There is something especially remarkable about reading a well written history book. Oh, you must know the feeling. You find it hard to come back to reality. You walk around for days wishing desperately for a time machine in your basement. You look at things and say “Gosh, that would have been different in so and so’s time”. I have spent the past week reading the story of Taj Mahal and have been so mesmerized by the Moguls’ realm that its all I can talk about for the time being (my family members, who were genuinely interested with the tidbits of info I gave them every now and then have been reduced to ho-humming now). The book follows the Moguls’ rule in India, since Babur first ruled and down to Aurangzeb, whilst giving special emphasis on Taj Mahal, that majestic architecture of eternal love.
When I was younger I used to read this series called ‘The Royal Diaries’, and they were basically historical accounts of different monarchies written in diary form for younger readers. I loved them because they were so fun to read and A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time instantly reminded me of those books. Let’s see, did you know that there have been accounts that mention Shah Jahan (the ruler who built the Taj for his wife) intended to build a similar mausoleum for himself across the river from Taj, only he wanted it to be black? Also, during the British rule of India, a lot of the garden plans were changed, and a lot of the precious stones used to decorate the Taj were looted?
Back in uni, I took a humanities course and we covered India, Persia and Andalusia. That course was one of my favorites and one of things I remember is that I first came across Ghalib and Tagore there. Anyhow, the title of the book “A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time” is actually a line from one of Tagore’s poem about the Taj. I highly recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in history. Whilst I can’t judge its historical accuracy, it’s a very enjoyable read. There was an amusing mention tho, of something as ‘a rule in Islam’ that clearly any Muslim would know it wasn’t. I’ll post that quote when I remember it.
Other than reading, I’ve just come back from a week in Malaysia. We visited Kuala Lampur and Portajaya, their new capital whilst sightseeing around the city. It was my first time there and although the weather was a bit humid, it was great to be able to walk around watching their celebration of the Chinese New Year and just admiring mother nature..and their streets. God, they were so orderly and clean. One Malayan lady told me I hadn’t seen the dirty part of the city yet, but still, I really loved the parts I saw mashAlla. It was just so heartwarming seeing the Muslims there. I mean, I don’t recall seeing this many Muslims in a non-Arab country before; and seeing the Muslim ladies and men there, in their headscarves and Malayan clothing just gave me goose bumps, know what I mean?
There is a slight chance of us going to Taj Mahal in the next couple of days and I am just praying that everything would go according to plan this time x.x
I'm so craving kushari now. My Alma Mater's kushari to be exact. Oohhhh, how I just loved it!! *stomach grumbles*. Does anyone have a good kushari recipe?


Chinese Eyes said...

I always wanted to visit Taj Mahal.

kath said...

came to to your blog a few days ago and saw the book you were currently reading, A Teardrop on the cheek of time, and thought to myself, hm... now this is a book I want to read

Belle said...

Welcome back <3
It's great to see Muslims from different countries ^^ sub7anALlah w el7amdulellAh =)

I forgot what the story of Taj Mahal was...& if we're talking about going back in history, I'd love that XD Just going back for a couple of hours :P

sadia said...

hiya booky! sorry for not keeping up i told you, been busy.

this book sounds like a brilliant read. i love anything historic, and i know what you mean about the time machine in the basement..*sigh*

glad you had fun in malaysia & i hope you get to go see taj mahal too. it will be a much better experience after reading this book i bet!

sadia said...

am i not one of your amigas? :(

Bookworm said...

Hey Chinese-eyes,
Me too <.< InshAlla we'll both get to visit it.

Hala Kath,
The book is certainly a winner. I'll send it over as soon as I get back inshAlla.

Heya Belle,
It sure is great, sub7anAllah. Well, basically the taj mahal was built when Mumtaz Mahal (wife of Shah Jahan, then the ruler) died. He was so heartbroken he wanted to build a huge mausoleum for her. But yeah, you def have to read the book if you like history =)

Sadia, hey!
Oh, hun, I know you're busy, and inshAlla everything goes great for ya.

Thank sweetie. Yeah, I'm hoping I'll get to go and now I'll have an idea about how it was built, etc.

And hun, you are definitely mi amiga! I havent updated that list ever since I made this blog..a couple of years ago, lol. I shud update it sooooon *hugs*

libero anima said...

i loved ur post man ! ..
i always read the history of greek philosophers and European countries ,, but never thought of reading about india ! ..
shahaiteene shakli i'll read it =D

yeah 9oob malaysia is kinda hot .. i saw that Bangkok was 34 C .. hff 7ar =p

sadia said...

awww...thanks for adding my name to that list! <3

Bookworm said...

Heya libero anima,
hehe, it really is an interesting book if you're into that kind of thing. Faascinating man.

Wow, 34..thats hot, lol.

Sadoya, anytime hun!