The night had caved in, and as I approached the “Pride of Asia”, Raj Mandir Cinema, renowned for its intricate architecture after 4 decades into existence, a man in his fifties exclaimed, “good evening sir, which country?”. Puzzled, I stared back only to later startle his curiosity by conversing in Marwari. Perhaps it was my pale skin and a backpacker’s outlook concealing my local identity, I wondered.
It was the cold month of January and thick smog engulfed the national capital. About time to discover something new, I decided, or rather rediscover something old. It was the memory of growing up in the Pink City- Jaipur. The quest was to rediscover the loathing I had for the city which seldom fails to bewilder a tourist unaccustomed to the rich culture of Rajasthan. So I set out as a tourist in my hometown, without a slightest idea about how the next 72 hours would change almost every perspective I had about Jaipur.
Winter was at its peak, yet the sun still shone high, and it was pleasant to stroll through the streets during the day with the nights rather cold. The streets of the old, walled city, lined by small cuboids painted in red, embedded with native art, ranging from embroidered cloths to the sheen of bangles, handicrafts and Rajasthani Turbans, and finally aroma of the spices spread alongside the streets offered an enthralling spectacle for a curious mind.