See the Taj Mahal without the crowds

View of Taj Mahal from the north bank of the Yamuna River - photo by Rob McFarland

View of Taj Mahal from the north bank of the Yamuna River – photo by Rob McFarland

Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, Australia – May 16, 2015

“What’s that?” I ask, pointing at the smoke curling up from the opposite riverbank. “Burning bodies,” replies my guide nonchalantly. “They’ll gather the ashes and scatter them in the Ganges.”

Through the smoky haze I can see the world’s most famous monument, a building Bengali poet Rabindranath​ Tagore​ described as “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity”.

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Learn to dance the Bollywood way

Bollywood dance class in Jaipur - photo by Rob McFarland

Bollywood dance class in Jaipur – photo by Rob McFarland

Sun-Herald, Australia – March 22, 2015

Hip sway…pelvic thrust…shoulder dip…finger wag. No, that’s not right. I’m thrusting the wrong way. Vibhor smiles patiently and we try again.

I’m attempting to learn the steps to Dhinka Chika, a song from the 2011 Bollywood hit Ready, in which leading man Salman Khan (me) tries to woo leading lady Asin Thottumkal (my girlfriend) by describing how their love will blossom over the next 12 months: “In January, when there shall be winter, we will turn on the heater of love. The blanket shall be as small as February in which we shall play hide and seek. March shall be a romantic month. We shall do what we haven’t done before”. Who could resist?

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