During a recent trip to Rajasthan, we went haveli spotting in the Shekhawati region. Among all the beautifully restored havelis, which had been touched up with a coat of paint and buffed up to welcome visitors, we came across one that was still lost in time. The paint on the walls and pillars was peeling; the ceilings soot blackened; some of the paintings were fading almost to obscurity. But despite that, this was the haveli that had the most atmosphere…where I was able to imagine what it must have looked like in its hey-day. I could almost see the haveli furnished, hear the women talking around the kitchen, the old patriarch reclining in the courtyard smoking his hookah, the children running and playing around him…This old caretaker, in my imagination, became the embodiment of an era gone by.