From the Big Bang to the Taj Mahal
The fact that the Big Band has slowed down and cooled off enough that you can actually touch the frequencies is a source of endless fascination for me. It didn’t have to be this way, after all—unless you believe in intelligent design—especially not in some multi-planet array splayed out like harp-strings on a gold frame, delicately tuned to produce the sweetest of harmonies. And if that’s not incredible enough, then the rise of biological life from that primordial pop and fizz is a pretty strong second act.
From there the plot only thickens. If the evolution of bacteria from blue-green algae is not so incredible, then the ascent/descent of homo sapiens sapiens certainly is. Then what? India’s place in space and time is about as unlikely as anything else in the universe, and more unlikely than most. This is chaos at its finest, proceeding from point to point with no center, much less any central plan, just like biological evolution itself. And just look what it gets you.
At the heart of it is the Taj Mahal, one of the great wonders of the modern world (well, sort-of-modern) and as pure a work of art as has ever existed. Though I’ve seen it in pictures countless times, my only response at first sight—from a distance—was “Wow!” Words fail. Close-up was almost—almost—a disappointment, but only because I’ve seen its distant cousins in Samarkand already. It’s too bad, and almost heartbreaking, that its host city Agra is such a sh*t-hole. Such is evolution, regardless of whether by random mutation or genetic drift. Sh*t happens… frequently… given time.
If it’s possible to overdose from pure sensation, then India just might be the place to do it to/for you. It’s not all beautiful, to be sure, and much of it ugly, in fact, but still it never ceases to amaze, if I may be permitted such a cliché. It’s just so… public. Imagine a billion or so people eating, pissing, and bathing in turns right before your eyes, and you’ve got the portrait of India. It ain’t all pretty, true, but this was the most advanced civilization in the world around 500 AD. They were all equal around 1492.
I’m only surprised that they haven’t gotten to me yet, all the touts and the hustlers and the young entrepreneurs testing out new psychological theories of value in their application toward advanced capitalism. On second thought, given the existence of matter, life, and humans, then India is exactly what you’d expect. It’s everything else that is weird and illogical. I mean: smart-phones, space-stations, and atomic wedgies? Yeah, right…
p.s. If you get a view of the Taj against blue sky on a sunny day, then stop the tuk-tuk and take it, NOW, because you may not get another chance, given the odds of fog, smog, smoke or dust (and don’t book a sunrise or sunset tour of anything, at least not in wintertime. The sun and horizon will likely never meet.