India, April 11 -- So, it's a dark and somewhat hot night. The Rambagh Palace was beautified as a fair Rajput maiden, ready to receive the who's-who of literature. After all, it was the opening dinner for the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). With a 'friend of the festival' pass neatly tucked in my pocket, the company of ambassadors, "kings", "princes" and the elite of Jaipur awaited me. Amidst them was a silver-haired magician. Sanjoy Roy's craft had conjured up the JLF many years ago.

The JLF brings beauty and brains to Jaipur, and after-parties are where you get to really meet them off guard. Intoxication, glib flirting and snobby men; no Jaipur after-party is complete without these, and I stuck around till 4 am. Night one was over, a...