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Delhi at this time of the year becomes a carnival of lights. The anticipation of Diwali becomes apparent in the millions of tiny LED lights hung from balconies of apartments, terraces of daytime offices, walls of messy rooms occupied by lazy university students, and on jalebi extensions, enacted temporarily to cater to the festive demand, in front of permanent sweet shops that sell Kinder Joy from glass shelves. Some days, in Delhi, on autorickshaws, you can smell this light in the autumn wind, collectively emitted by millions of LED bulbs across the city. The autumn wind has many smells. Years ago, on autumn mornings in my school’s prayer ground, the Night Jasmines wouldn’t let some of us pray, because every breeze would bring with it a confusing nostalgia. It would come as a longing for a blue sea and leave a dry sadness in the throat. That was before I was diagnosed with a recurring throat allergy.

Some days, the autumn wind smells of fireflies in paddy fields at dusk. I, of cours…

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