The older I grow the more I find that nostalgia is the governing emotion of my life. This was brought home to me even more strongly last week when I went back to Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace for a brief visit. The moment
I walked through the sofa-lined verandah that runs in front of what used to be the Jaipur royal stateroom (and is now rather prosaically a restaurant), I was transported back to my first visit to this iconic property.
I was a young rookie reporter, barely out of college, and had been assigned to cover the General Elections by following the erstwhile royals on the campaign trail. We (I was accompanied by the magazine’s photographer) were in Jaipur to cover the former Maharaja, Captain Bhawani Singh’s, campaign and stopped by at the Rambagh for a quick coffee.
Imagine our excitement when we saw, in the verandah where I now stood some three decades later, Rajmata Gayatri Devi, resplendent in chiffon and pearls, talking to a friend. We immediately sidled up to her, waited respectfully for her conversation to end, and then asked if we could speak to her.
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February 9, 2020