A group of about 12 people, battered by the chilly winds, huddle close together to try and keep warm. The flames around them surreptitiously licked the outer confines of their immediate surroundings. Yet, in the icy blusters the flame represented an ally, valiantly flailing in the wind, almost trying to ward it off. ‘Bone-chilling’ was no more just an expression you had read somewhere. At that moment, all 12 pairs of eyes immediately darted to the server, resplendently dressed in black with a red turban, who was carrying a plate of sizzling boti kababs and seekh kebabs. If there was a hungry pack of wolves close by, they’d have been put to shame at how quickly the food was consumed.
The scene was at Bal Samand Lake Palace Hotel, situated in the heart of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Like much of Rajasthan, the Bal Samand Lake Palace Hotel is built on the Rajput era architectural blueprint, complete with small foyers crowned by the characteristic cupolas. Dinner here, especially at the peak of the desert winter, is as pleasing to physical senses as it is to the gastronomic ones. The rustic charm of an idyllic Sarangi playing in the background is lost on few. Surrounded by flaming furnaces, only barely managing to keep you warm, the piping hot food is worth its weight in gold. Quite literally too, as the Bal Samand Lake Palace hotel’s entry on your travel ledger will stand out among others. This is an experience to be had, though.
As we travelled back to Jodhpur, from Jaisalmer, to catch the flight back home, a part of me wants to take home some of the sand from the night before with me. But we humbly accept the lesson that the grains of sand flowing through our hands teach us; that life is fleeting. There are more memories to be had, more adventures to be embarked upon. Somewhere, in some corner of the world there is a grain of sand with your name on it. Waiting for you to try to hold it while it teasingly slips through. And then it starts again.