A provincial rube, I had moved to Delhi for high school in need of training in cosmopolitan civility. I had never before used a fork. But, though the table manners of the parlor would present one set of lessons, kebabs proved an equally cosmopolitan, albeit cruder, pleasure. My father and uncles—all traveling salesmen—had told tales of this delectable, sinfully unclean food, but nice, middle-class Hindu vegetarian that I was, I hadn’t yet had the opportunity, or the courage, to try them for myself. The truth was, I was afraid. And not only of the notion that the forbidden food would taint me.