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The poetry of Agra, India

Taj Mahal, colors, people and monkeys mark NewsOK's Lindsay Houts' first days in India, where she is on a monthlong Rotary International trip.
BY LINDSAY HOUTS NewsOK editor Modified: February 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm •  Published: February 3, 2013

An outdoor barbershop. Two mirrors on two tables are propped against a brick wall. Chairs in front of them and surrounded by garbage, the barber waits.

Children with dark eyes make their demands. “Photo?” No. “Puppy?” No. “Chocolate?” No. “Money?” No. “Yeah.” No. “Yeah.” No. “Money?” No. “Yeah.” We walk away, avoiding their gaze.

Buses, vans, taxis, motorcycles are a never-ending ensemble of honking. Count the breaths you take in a minute and multiply by 100. Now you know how much to honk.

Makeshift homes line the streets, highways. Fires everywhere, people huddled for warmth, for cooking.

Roadside food stands. Leathery-skinned, wrinkled women cloaked in bright colors are cooking, selling, serving.

The impossible task of keeping anything clean. Sweeping dirt off of dirt.

Cross the river, sit opposite the Taj. Twin boys walk hand in hand, barefoot, down the littered bank. Dripping nose, one boy runs to you, climbing through twisted barbed wire. Poetry. Agra is poetry.

— Lindsay Houts

Editor's note

Lindsay Houts, one of NewsOK's editors, has traveled to India for a month as part of Rotary Club International's Global Study Exchange, a 48-year-old international cultural and vocational exchange program for young professionals.

• She's chronicling her “Incredible India” journey online at, and The Oklahoman will run some of her blog posts in print as she tours the country, meets with people who live there and gives presentations.

• Follow her travels online and follow Houts on Twitter @alamokie for updates. Here she writes about getting to Agra, India, where the Taj Mahal is located.

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