There is a souvenir sitting in my showcase symbolizing years of intense love and is also known as one of the seven wonders of the world. It has been sitting there for four years glorifying its value every single day. There is not one speck of dust on this souvenir because it is kept safe and cleaned. This white smooth stoned beauty is the souvenir of the Taj Mahal that my grandfather bought for my grandmother. It has all hand carved details that is on the real Taj Mahal. Even though this little Taj Mahal in my house is the imitation of the real one it has a deep meaning to my grandmother and my mother.
- The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and it was dedicated to his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal.
- It was made in the grief of her death after the birth of her fourteenth child.
- The Taj Mahal is also a mausoleum for emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
- It is a beautiful example of Muslim art in India and is kept in good condition because it a big symbol of Agra in India.
- The emperor believed in symmetry therefore there is a river Yamuna right in front of the Taj Mahal that gives the reflection of the building as if there are two Taj Mahals.
- Legend says the emperor cut off all the hands of the workers that built it so that another Taj Mahal could not be built.
- The Taj Mahal is called “the jewel” of Muslim Art and it’s an admired masterpiece.
- The tomb in the Taj Mahal is also known to be the central focus of the entire complex.
Trip to India
When my grandfather went to India he picked this miniature Taj Mahal for my grandmother because he saw it as a symbol of love and he loved my grandmother dearly. He saw it to be a big symbol because he always told my grandmother if he could he would have built such an iconic piece for my grandmother. For my grandmother it meant the world because she felt like the queen whom her king loved. She kept the Taj Mahal safe and cleaned it every day until one day her husband passed away and then it became even more meaningful to her. My grandfather passed away one year after he brought the Taj Mahal. It was ironic because the Taj Mahal was built for grief and he giving my grandmother the Taj Mahal would make her grief about his death. It was a huge memory of him which was very important to her because it made her feel closer to her husband.
The souvenir now just didn’t mean happiness to my grandmother it meant sadness and hurt feelings. I remember when she told me “sometimes I feel like his death was attached to this souvenir.” She thought he died because he bought the Taj Mahal. Even though she knew he died from a liver failure she believed that it was the souvenirs’ fault. It was as if she had lost the sense of reality and common sense and believed in a superstition. My mother told me “your grandmother was very ill and only focused on this Taj Mahal.” It was a love hate relationship with this ionic sculpture because it had brought my grandmother love and pain.
Falling In Love “Bollywood” Style
My grandparents love story was something else they literally “fell” in love. When I heard their story I couldn’t believe it because it seemed like the classical “Bollywood” movie. They met at a very young age in their University through a push from another person. My grandmother was walking to her classroom and my grandfather was walking with his friends when suddenly she was pushed and fell on him. She was frightened and so was he but when they tried getting up they became acquaintances.
My grandmother thought she would never see him ever again but she was wrong. The next day as she was walking to class again my grandfather was waiting for her to say sorry for what had happened the day before. They met and exchanged stories and told each other their names. As days progressed they talked to each other more but secretly because in Bangladesh boys don't really talk to girl a lot. Back in the day when my grandmother went to school she was the very few people that went to a coed University. In Bangladesh male and female students were often segregated and put in different schools.
My grandmother knew they were falling in love but she also knew that she had to follow traditions and get an arranged marriage. In Bangladesh it was very common to get arranged marriage, if an individual marries without the consent of elders it is frowned upon. My grandmother was devastated when she found out that she was set to get married soon. She told my grandfather they have to be apart since they couldn't be together forever. The day came when she had to meet her future husband and it was surprising because the arranged marriage they picked was my grandfather. My grandmother never told her parents that she already knew him neither did he. So they received a love marriage that was seen as an arranged marriage and my grandmother couldn’t have asked for something better.
The Taj Mahal is Now a Part of My House
The way this miniature Taj Mahal got to my house was it traveled with us for 23 hours in our luggage when we were coming back to Americana from visiting Bangladesh. We went to Bangladesh four years ago and ever since then it has been in my house. My mother asked my grandmother permission to bring this token of love with her so that she can have a piece of her father in her house. My mother’s other sister’s wanted it too but my grandmother knew my mother was my grandfather’s favorite daughter and therefore gave it to her. This is the way I can remember my grandpa as a lover that loved my grandmother a lot and it warms up my heart.
What I Make Out of It
Even though this is a little souvenir in my showcase it has a value that nothing else can have. Whenever I take a look at this Taj Mahal it teaches me the value of life and death. Small things can help a person remember many memories. It also signifies to me that life is very short because one day a person can come into your life and make you feel loved and when they leave they leave all their memories for you. It makes me understand that we should cherish everyone in our lives because they may not be alive the next day. Love lives on in many forms in this case it lives through this Taj Mahal. My grandmother passed it on to her daughter and in the future I will pass it on to my daughter as a symbol of love. That love does exist in the world and can be expressed in many ways. I know this will forever remain as a staple piece in my home and it gives a touch of history and comfort for me.
Nikita Zaman is a student at CSUN and she loves to swim in the summer time.