If Taj Mahal is the ultimate symbol of love, then I take it that Agra represents the city of love as it houses the great Taj. Now that ‘city of love’ is all explained for, let me get to the ‘no flowers’ part.
We were on a short trip to Agra, sometime last week, obviously to see the Taj. We drove down from Delhi to Agra via Vrindavan and Mathura. Two short halts at both the religious sites was a fine experience and it also meant that we would be reaching Agra by late evening. We saw the Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura and the Banke Bihari Mandir in Vrindavan. It was a rainy day and the streets were all slushy, we had to use hand-pulled rickshaws to move around the narrow streets of the temple town. I abhor hand-ricksahws, its such a cruelty to a fellow human inflicted by another, all in the name of rozi-roti. Anyways, we moved on and drove towards Agra.
By the time we reached Agra, it was 7pm. The plan was to see Taj next day morning. The night stay was on invitation by an ex-army man’s family who had arranged for it, as a sweet gesture of our first visit to Agra. We thought it prudent on our part to at least carry a buoquet and greet the receptive family with flowers.
That’s where our quest started for a buoquet store or a flower shop or a florist. But alas! we could not find a single one. We got down at sadar bazar and looked for it frantically, but could not get a single stem of flower, forget a buoquet. All kinds of thoughts ran in my mind, what would uncle think of us? It would be really strange to land-up at their place empty handed. They were diabetic, so sweets were out of question. Being an ex-army man, uncle was used to being greeted with flowers on every occasion. And that was what we were not able to find.
We stopped at half a dozen places and asked people around for florists but no one could guide us to any flower store. It was a rainy day and we had a tough time in Mathura and Vrindavan, but the rain followed us to Agra as well. Time was running out, so we just got back into the car and drove to the house where we were greetd by the couple.
After enquiring about our trip, we sat for some coffee and snacks. We unabashedly told them that we were sorry for landing up empty-handed. We tried to explain that we looked for a buoquet, but could not find a single florist in the entire Agra Cantt area. That’s when uncle intervened and told us that flowers are not easily availbale in Agra. He went on to tell that whenever they had to attend some fucntion or a marriage, they would start looking out for flowers 2-3 days prior to the occasion. We heaved a sigh of relief.
But the question is still siwrling in my mind. Why no flowers in Agra? Don’t people get married? Don’t guys propose girls anymore and vice-versa? Don’t people decorate their vase with flowers in the house?
I see a tremendous scope for a florist or a flower shop in this part of the world. All florists, please head to Agra and put up a few stalls at least near Taj, if not anywhere else.
We did see the glorious Taj, the next day. It was as beautifual as I had imagined it would be and as seen in movies and pics. Our trip was great, but there is still a rankle in my heart. Only if we could have found a buoquet too!