Orchha: “Hello Auntie!”

It is the place where I finished my first ever sock. In a restaurant where rats ran in and out of the kitchen, jumping off shelves and around jars, causing a French woman to feed her dinner to a passing street dog and say to the owner “You should beeee ashaaaaaamed of your restauran’, eeet eeeez full of rats!” before storming out.

Agra (Taj Mahal): “A teardrop on the face of eternity”

The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called the Taj Mahal “A teardrop on the face of eternity” according to my trusty Lonely Planet. Which leaves me feeling that nothing I say can really better that. Still I’ll give it a go…

Jaisalmer: “Oh… It go ice.”

It is clear to me that the waiter has the power to freeze water at will, and that sometimes, maybe when he has spilled birayani down a customer who would have been a big tipper, or a cow gouged at him on the way to work because he looked at it funny, he loses control of his power and ends up showing it to us mere mortals in the form of sudden soft drink freezing.

Jodhpur: “Excuuuuse me, ma’am! You know what is wool?”

At one point, a bit yarn hungry by now, I happened upon a dusty bag of nasty pink acrylic wool. A small boy leapt from the shadows of the shop, “Excuuuuse me, ma’am! You know what is wool?” he demanded. I did know what is wool. That wasn’t wool.

Udaipur: “Are you jamisponding me?”

There is really only one thing about Udaipur that people go there for as far as I can tell. A shaken but not stirred thing that is regularly viewed with golden eyes and pointed out with gold fingers, and… oh hell, I cannot be bothered with anymore James Bond hints. You get the idea.

Bundi: “The work of cobbling rather than men.”

Fort Monkeys, breakfast monkeys, “Your monkey stick doesn’t scare me” monkeys. A whole monkey army of which sat around us as we climbed to the fort, perched on every wall and window, eerily following us with dark monkey eyes…

Pushkar: “The animals are arriving already!”

Off in the distance camels stretch into as far as the eye can see. Single humped, double humped, dark furred and light, rough haired, and two toed. Chewing with lower teeth jutting out from the split in their floppy camel lips. Adorned with cascades of all-coloured pompoms, plaits, and beaded trinkets, looking proud and silly all at once.

Jaipur: “This is no rickshaw! This is Ferrari!”

An army of monkeys marching down three sides of a narrow alleyway, their tails waving like banners of victory behind them.

Two mud-black pigs caught snuffling through the worst smelling rubbish in a tiny side street, one turning its too-pink nose to pose for the camera.

Delhi: “Beeeeeeeeeeeard? Beaaaaaaaaaard?”

A cry of “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeard? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeard?” outside the fort, that stopped us in our tracks and ended with us haggling for fake facial hair with a small boy who assured us he paid at least 25 rupees whenever he bought his.

Attari: “Hindustan!” “Pakistan!”

Sat in the VIP area of the most patriotic crowd I have ever been a part of, watching men with fans on their heads attempt to almost kick themselves in the face while marching, while the throng around me chants football-crowd-like songs at a just-as-patriotic, just-as-loudly-singing crowd across the border.