I’d spent the morning walking around the Red Fort of Agra, one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Agra, India. The sun beat down mercilessly, but I soldiered on, driven by astonishment over the staggering architecture of the Fort. My jaw dropped open at the entrance, a towering red sandstone arch covered in magnificent carvings. It was just a tiny taste of what lay within the soaring walls of the 16th century fortress.
By the time I’d fully explored the interior of the extensive compound, I was exhausted and drenched in perspiration. Gratefully, I sat down to rest on a stone bench beneath the entrance arch. I was not alone. An extended family lounged in the shade against the facing wall. Their children, still full of energy, chased each other around while the adults rested. Directly across from me, the sari-clad mother held their youngest, an infant with kohl-rimmed eyes. I pointed first to my camera, then back at her family. She smiled shyly and graciously nodded her permission to take a photo. All over India, I was greeted by broad smiles and a complete willingness to pose for photos.