Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Taj Mahal

Tomorrow, I was supposed to be leaving for India.  It is a country that I have grown to love.  Over the last fifteen years of cruising with Royal Caribbean, I have made so many friends among the crew, from various parts of that country, that I am affectionately known by many, as their "American mother."  

I met Ode Santos, a bartender in the Champagne Bar, on the Monarch of the Seas, shortly after I boarded in San Juan, Puerto Rico for my first cruise with Royal Caribbean.  He quickly became a dear friend and, less than two years later, I spent ten days as a guest at his home in Mumbai.  I was treated like a visiting dignitary by everyone in his family - and by other crew members who were home on vacation while I was there.  The highlight of the trip was a journey to Agra with his mother where we visited the Taj Mahal, a place I had dreamed about but never thought I would actually see.  It was an incredible experience.

Since that time, my Indian "family" has grown to huge numbers and I have been promising to return, hoarding frequent flyer miles to make the trip.  I have tried, on several occasions, to schedule a flight but seats were unavailable.  Finally, I found three weeks from November 15 until December 10th and I eagerly scheduled my trip.  Unfortunately, my mother's failing health necessitated a change in my plans.  With the three weeks I just spent in Georgia and the financial strain that imposed, plus the lack of time to prepare for the trip and arrange my visa, yesterday, I had the airline replace the frequent flyer miles in my account ( at the cost of $100! ).  
I was in tears as I spoke to the KLM agent.  I have to write to all my Indian friends today.  I was going to many places throughout the country, staying at people's home during my entire stay.  

I pray that I will still make the trip in the future.  What was so nice about these dates is that many of my crew friends were going to be on vacation at this time, making it even more wonderful for me.  Also, the annual release date for "The Eternity Magazine," a beautiful publication that is a forum for writers and poets globally, focusing on spirituality, peace, and the environment, is to be released in Mumbai this month.  Its editor, Harekrushna Mahanta, had planned for me to be there as a visiting guest poet from the United States., along with a Mumbai film director for media coverage of the event.  It would have been such an honor.

I've written two poems about India.  One I'll post today, called, "The Taj Mahal."  I wish I could find the beautiful professional pictures that were taken there.  I have searched so many times for them.  They have never turned up although I know I brought them home with me.  I cannot even put into words my feelings when I first saw the beauty of this incredible place!

The Taj Mahal
Agra, India

( photo courtesy of )

The Taj Mahal

An architectural treasure,
A tribute to true love,
It almost seems to glow,
From a full moon above.

Made of pure white marble,
Mumtaz Mahal lies here,
With Emperor Shah Jahan,
Resting very near.

Such overwhelming beauty,
Reflected in its pool.
Its minarets standing guard,
Over India's treasured jewel.

Built on the River Yumana, 
The Taj is an exquisite sight,
Symbolic of love for centuries,
Inspiring poets to write.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2008 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved. 



  1. I'm so sorry you had to cancel your trip to India and I hope it can be rescheduled very soon Carmen. I'm sure your friends there understand your family obligations came first.

    Have you ever read the blog called "Blogtrotter" on blogspot?
    Gil is from Portugal but writes in English. He has traveled all over the world and takes wonderful photographs..he has many from India.

  2. Pat, I will get to India again, perhaps I will
    even manage to accumulate enough miles to go
    business class which will make that long trip

    Thanks for turning me on to Blogtrotter! I am
    now a follower. Gorgeous photos of many places
    I've been and many I want to visit!

  3. Now I know whom to contact for ideas before I travel anywhere. Sorry about the Indian travel postponement you had to arrange.

    The picture is so beautiful!

  4. Sorry you had to cancel your planned trip but God willing you will be able to reschedule it again soon.....I too have many friends from India and would love to visit one day. I love reading about your travels....:-) Hugs

  5. am sure you will be sorely missed by all your friends in india..

  6. It's a shame that you can't go on your trip. I've never really had much of a chance to travel, so I can only imagine what it would be like.

  7. lakeviewer, I'll get to India, hopefully, before
    monsoon season starts in June, surely by

    Bernie, pretty soon, I won't be doing so much
    traveling, with this retirement...but, at
    least, I got in plenty in the last 50 years!

    magiceye - I am sure my friends won't miss me
    nearly as much as I will miss them - and all
    that wonderful food. I was really looking
    forward to meeting all their families!

  8. What a shame you had to cancel but I'm sure your friends understand why. Think of it this way, you will still have something to look forward to. Loved your poem, I honestly didn't know the Taj Mahal was built with marble. It is a breathtaking piece of architecture.

  9. Dear Carmen, while saddened that you've ha to cancel this trip, I'm sure you are feeling relieved (maybe troubled, but also relieved) to have sorted out some living arrangements for your Mother.

    I'm sure You wiil have another travel time over to India and to catch up with such dear friends.

    I've sent an email to your Yahoo address, please let me know if received/current email address etc - you are such an amazing person to have the chance to get to know, I don't want to loose this new friendship.

    Zebbycat has just topped up his (more than ample) tummy, now contemplating which bit of "our bed" to take over next!!!

    Sending care, love and huggles, Michelle and Zebby

  10. Anonymous6:29 AM

    awe sorry you had to miss out on your trip, but then, your mom needed you and I know that was rewarding in itself. I have allot of peeps that want to me go on trips with them, and some of them look at me with a strange look on their faces when I tell them, money I save to go on a trip is going to be back home to see my folks who are 85 and 79.

    I feel I can go somewhere warmer when the time is right, You will get your trip back to India. the photo is inviting in itself.YOur poem is a lovely tribute to the country and as you wrote, symbolic and inspiring poets like yourself.


  11. Wonderful poem, Carmen, and so sorry about the canceling of your trip!