At the entrance to Kahri Baoli, a gated laneway, the air is so gritty it's like walking through a hailstorm of ground turmeric and chiles. This back alley is just one of hundreds radiating away from Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk, a chaotic bazaar that stretches between the Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid mosque. It is narrow enough that even rickshaws can't enter, but beyond this arcade lies Gadodia Market, the epicenter of Asia's spice trade. The inner courtyard is crammed with wooden hand carts and porters bearing burlap sacks on their backs. Wholesale merchants sit cross-legged in their stalls and warehouses, drinking chai or lemonade laced with black salt, haggling with customers over vast piles of cloves, pepper, cardamom, nuts, and dried fruits. Shopkeepers brag about the finest saffron from Kashmir and the hottest pepper grown in Malabar and first-flush tea leaves picked in Darjeeling. In the surrounding sprawl, worshipers pause to wash their hands at water fountains outside the Hanuman Temple; dogs snooze on doorsteps; street kitchen wallahs fire up vats to cook biryani, moong pakori, and arguably the greatest fried chicken ever. Dust, trash, spit, trampled flowers. Motorcycle horns, the call to prayer, beggars wailing. Delivery trucks emblazoned with "Great India" in floral graphics spewing fossil fumes over all of us. For me, this spicy funk swirling through one of the world's largest markets is simply the exhalation of life. It doesn't get more intense than this, so I advise inhaling deeply.