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I sit upon damask pillows embroidered in gold. The worn threads gleam in the luster of brass diyas. The ghee lit flames gutter, pirouetting into silhouettes against the tapestried walls. Brass platters appear before me: long-grained rice tinged with the fragrance of pandan, thick orbicular chunks of roti, bowls of mint yoghurt, and tamarind chutney. Last of all emerges a tureen filled with lamb cubes bathing in a sauce of sinful spices.
I scoop a palmful of rice onto my plate. I add a steaming roti and some saag. A dollop of raita goes on the side. I ladle the creamy laal maas curry over my rice; its titian hues cascade over the slender ivory kernels. The first swallow is a conjuring trick. The scene shimmers; I close my eyes and when I open them I am a Rajput prince ensconced in my Jaipur palace. A silver orb hangs…
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