It turns out that school for the girls is not canceled this week after all. We already bought plane tickets to Delhi so Eliza and Sophia will be excused from school. I could try to explain the change from no school to school, but, after a day of broken promises and contradicting information, I can’t guarantee that I understand it myself.
On Saturday many flights to Delhi were canceled due to dense winter fog. There were also some fatal train accidents blamed on the fog. Despite these problems we are forging ahead. We plan to take a train from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and other Mughal sites.
The Mughal Empire was an Islamic dynasty in power in India from 1526 to 1857. Just before we left Colorado, we watched the movie Jodhaa Akbar about the mixed marriage between Akbar, generally considered the greatest Mughal emperor, and his Hindu wife. It was a good movie but has been accused of inaccuracies. Akbar is buried at Agra. His grandson built the Taj.
It was reported in the papers today that India-born Salman Rushdie was at the Taj on Tuesday. This event provoked some Islamists to fax the prime minister over the weekend asking that Rushdie’s visa be revoked. The Islamists considered his presence at the Taj to be sacrilegious to Islam saying that the fatwa over his head has not been withdrawn.
The girls love to go swimming. On Sunday we went to the apartment complex pool to go for a swim, but we were told that the pool was closed for repairs. Since the pool is closed on Mondays for regular maintenance, I thought to present the girls with a hotel with a swimming pool, but I’m told, “It’s too cold to go swimming in Delhi.” Later I’m told by the same person, “It’s too hot to see the Taj Mahal in the middle of the day.”
December and January are supposed to be very dry months in Bangalore with a total average rainfall of 2 centimeters, but on December 31 there were monsoon-type rains that easily dumped more than the typical 2-month amount in one afternoon. No doubt the rain contributes to our apartment courtyard's beautiful foliage. One tree that I really like is the gulmohar tree or “Flame Tree.” I'm told that it grows in Florida, parts of Texas, the Caribbean and China, but I associate it with India. The tree is crowned with flowers. You can see one here: http://oii.net/image/scrapbook/poinciana.jpg