Bal Mithai is a Kumaoni specialty, supposedly invented a century ago in Almora. It is exactly the kind of thing an ordinary halvai would dream up with ingredients at hand. Cut browned khoya into cubes, roll them in the little balls of sugar that are a second common ingredient in a sweet maker’s kitchen, and you are ready. The recipe is so simple that it has taken over the hills. Since the smoke of forest fires prevented us from taking walks, I’d decided not to have much in the way of sweets. But passing through a small town through a road lined with halvai’s shops I stopped the car momentarily and bought a hundred grams of these sweets. They are as toe-curlingly sweet as I remembered them to be. But a halvai’s tray full of them is a nice subject for a photo.