Again, to have ideal light for filming, the certificate ceremony was scheduled in the afternoon.
The press had been brought by bus from New Delhi to Agra and, after they enjoyed a lunch at our partner hotel, the delightful Mughal Sheraton, they were excited to see the N7W airship being inflated in the splendid gardens. Unfortunately, because of strong winds, the airship could not fly this afternoon – so it inflated to show itself off, but stayed on the ground.
When we arrived at the gate to the Taj Mahal, I was happily surprised by the colorful setting for the ceremony, the main terrace in the middle of the park of the Taj Mahal. We were all dazzled by the very beautifully colored costumes of the dancers who escorted us to the ceremony site and who gave the ceremony a nicely animated frame. A huge crowd of cameras showed up – TV and photographers fought for the best spot to get shots.
The handover ceremony was bathed in lovely sun and, since the Uttar Pradesh Minister of Tourism could not make it at the last minute (his personal plane had some technical problems), it became almost a family affair. I handed the certificate to the local Tourism director, Mr. Burman, who has since long become a friend.
Even though we had a press conference scheduled afterwards, the reporters kept trying to grab me and ask me questions there at the Taj, mostly on camera of course. We must have had 12 TV cameras there, all jostling for a good angle and to get some quotes from me and Mr. Burman. Since the press are generally not allowed to film this close to the Taj Mahal, they definitely grabbed the opportunity to get lots of images and to make sure that they got me with the Taj in the background. Our PR person, Tia, literally had to grab my hand and pull me away from the throng of journalists, promising that all of their questions would be answered at the press conference and in one-on-one interviews afterwards.