aipur's old city is contained within coral-pink painted crenellated walls.

Unlike most cities in India, it was carefully planned and designed by the founder and first maharajah of Jaipur, Sawai Jai Singh. The north-south streets are broad boulevards with shops on either side and a raised median in the centre. The streets are a mad blur of every type of vehicle darting around casually oblivious livestock. The city is divided into bazaars that tend to contain goods of similar type. One would go to Johari Bazaar for jewelry, to Nehru or Bapu Bazaar for dry goods and to Tripolia Bazaar for pots and pans.

My friend Jill and I had gone to Nehru Bazaar in search of a towel. After walking past several shops specializing in sheets and quilts, we came to a likely shop.

Several towels were presented for my inspection and I selected a light pink one with a potentially absorbent texture. Then I noticed a large dirty area where it had been folded. "Oh, but it's dirty" I said, "Is there another clean one, same kind?" The older man serving us directed his younger subordinate to search the shelves behind him. After much shuffling and opening of boxes, another towel of the same type was located. I looked it over, only to find to my disappointment that it was dirtier than the first one, which I pointed out. "Too bad" I said. "I really like this one."

He pondered the situation for a moment and then with a flourish, flipped the towel over to reveal its reverse side. "Backside fresh madam" he announced proudly. Who could argue with logic like that? I purchased the towel without further negotiations.

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