"Never give up on your dreams"

For years I lived life on my own terms, and I still do, as I’m convinced that’s the way to live life. Life is in your own hands and you are the only one responsible for it.

I also always kept on dreaming. Thinking big, beyond my expectations, straight threw my wall of fear. I often got remarks from my closest friends and family that I’m a dreamer, that I should be more realistic. But you know what… Realistic is what you know today, according to your passed events in life and the influences of your environment. By following your gut feeling and your dreams, you can accomplish everything.
Despite all those comments, I managed to fulfil my dreams. I truly believe that you can  accomplish all your dreams in life, as long as you stick to your own believes. As long as you believe in yourself and are persistent. Never give up on your dreams and keep them awake. Work your way towards them, and you will see that life will reward you.

For over twenty years I had a dream. Something I really wanted to do in life. Something to see and to feel. I never gave up on that dream and on April 30th 2019 that one dream finally came true. The fact that it took me so long shows that sometimes you must put your dreams aside for the time being, but keep them awake. Hold on to them as I did.

It’s impossible to describe the overwhelming feeling I got the moment that dream came true.

So, Tuesday April 30th and actually let’s go a few hours earlier … the evening before.
I finally got to see her … Taj Mahal, from the other side of the river Yamuna. I got very close, but not at the point I had always imagined I would be. Maybe I did not yet get to see and feel her properly, but I was closer than I had ever been before … Sunset at Taj, what a dream.
Oh yes, the excitement was there, for sure! I got a glimpse from a distance, but at that moment I couldn’t get closer than that. After witnessing sunset and see her colours change, I just felt like going to sleep, so that tomorrow would be there fast. I had gotten this far and I was to excited to get closer to her. I gave our guide and driver a hard time. I didn’t feel like visiting a handcraft place of gems, I didn’t feel like eating, I just wanted to go to sleep. I acted like a child who was promised a cookie, they then held it in front of my nose so I could smell it, to then just rip it away and say: “You’ll get it tomorrow”. When I went to bed I guess I said like over a hundred times in my head, I’m grateful for finally being so close in making a dream come true. A dream I had cherished for years.
Finally she was in reach.

The morning after we got up at 4:30 am, just to be sure to catch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal. Be the first ones to enter the gates and enjoy the dream to the fullest. Once we passed those gates, the rollercoaster of feelings just hit me.

There she was … What a beauty. So perfect and full of love. Taj Mahal, an emperor’s intense love wrought in a monument of love. A unique piece of art, a mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the world, made by Shah Jahan as a final resting place for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
The only thing standing in between us was a perfect garden. Everything symmetric, 4 parts in the garden with canals dividing them, but reuniting them at the centre of the garden representing the  essence of paradise, the promised rivers of milk, water, honey and wine. According to Islamic tradition and believe, gardens are a symbol of paradise. And I assure you, it gave me the feeling of being in paradise.

The guide was so excited to tell us everything about the love story between Mumtaz and Emperor Shah Jahan and this perfect gift of man craft to mankind. I listened to his stories with great unbelieve but meanwhile couldn’t keep my eyes of her. The attraction was unbelievable. I fell in love as soon as I got through the gates and could see her in full glory. As the sun was rising, her shades and colours just changed. From yellow and pinkish to light blue and white…

The closer we got to her, the more her beauty just rose up. I felt the adrenaline pumping through my body. I couldn’t wait to get to know more, just put my hand on her and caress her gently.

Everything possible to protect her from destruction is foreseen. No earthquake could destruct her. The foundation is fully in wood, the minarets in each corner slope two degrees so they wouldn’t hit her. The two identical buildings next to her, better known as the mosque and guest house keep her steady, …

What struck me most was the love story. It’s just breath taking. Mumtaz was the third wife of Shah Jahan and got married at the age of 19. When giving birth to their 14th child, Mumtaz passed away. She requested four promises from Shah Jahan on her deathbed: First, do not marry another woman as I know I’m the one and always will be. Secondly, take care of our children. Thirdly, build something that will keep me in remembrance for ever, as out of your love for me. So Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal build for his precious wife in her remembrance and as her final resting place. It took over 22 years and 2.000 craftsmen to realize it. As a fourth promise she requested him to visit her tomb on her death anniversary. Due to being under house arrest by his own son for over eight years, he couldn’t keep the last promise.

Finally we stood right in front of her. We then took the stairs up to the terrace. Although I felt tired, I just couldn’t suppress the smile on my face. I could feel the butterflies flutter in my belly. I gasped for breath. I was just overwhelmed by her beauty.  A masterpiece in marble and glorified with precious and semi-precious stones.
The guide started the story about the marble. Where it came from. How it was crafted. How she sparkles like a jewel under full moon, just like a star. I could now put my hand on her, feel her, caress her. It was just so overwhelming. I was speechless.

Throughout the Taj, there are flowers graved in all magical colours. When you hold a torch at the leaves, they will lighten up. Again I caught myself smiling. The acoustic is marvellous. The guide yelled my name and I could hear it in echo. So now she also got to hear my name.

When we got back on the terrace, the guide gave us half an hour to fully enjoy the moment and get back to the main gate. A moment I could cherish with my love. We didn’t talk much. We just held hands and blend into the moment. It was a never to forget romantic moment for us.

As we walked back towards the gates I couldn’t help but turn around every five steps, just to take another look at her. Her appeal is huge. It somehow hurt me that I had to leave her. I finally got to realize one of my dreams and now it was time to say goodbye. I couldn’t resist looking over my shoulder and smile at her. Fully enjoy this unique moment.  

We got back at the gate where our guide was waiting for us. One more time. One final look at her. The guide then asked if everything was fine. I nodded my head and started crying. Tears ran down my cheeks and I finally said: “What a beauty. Literally breath-taking.”

It may have taken over twenty years to finally turn this dream into reality, but I now know that this moment was one I had to share with the love of my life. It made the moment more impressive and moving. One we share together. It was just meant to be …

Dare  to dream

© Vicky Drappier

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