The gates open at 6am, it’s still dark, roosters crowing, vendors getting ready for the day, mist rolls off the river behind, and it’s cold, in that humid, deep in the bones cold. You make your way through a series of gardens and pools, being careful not to fall in, and in the first pink tint of dawn, unveiling itself of the river mist, sitting surreally elevated, as if it were floating in your mind. Shoes off, climb the marble steps, and you and your buddy Joe are the first inside the Taj Mahal, it’s December 1988, in a different century, a different world. Joe has brought his flute from home, we give the guard a few Rupees, and the Taj is transformed into an echo chamber, the notes spiraling around the engravings and inlaid gemstones. A cat starts meowing along, and you realize it’s a one-per-lifetime experience, there on the banks of the river in Agra, inside the Most Beautiful Building in the World. I’ll never forget it.