"It began as a teardrop in Babylon. Where the sunlight came from Astarte, shameless goddess of the fecund feminine. The boteh. Stylized rendition of the date palm shoot, tree of life, fertility symbol. It danced through Celtic art, until the heavy feet of Roman legionaries tramped over the Alps. Then it fled the wrath of Mars and Jupiter, dove underground as Empire rose.
"Some historians claim it travelled to Mughal courts from Victorian England, as the foliaged shape of the herbal. Evolved in the 18th century into a cone, then a tadpole. But a legend in Kashmir calls it the footprint of the goddess Parvati, as she ran through the Himalayas at the dawn of time.
"Ambi. Form of a mango – fruit that ripens and rots the dreams of all South-to-North immigrants...
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