Hitting the BRIC Wall

Manan Vatsyayana / AFP / Getty Images

Foreign tourists stand and chat on a busy street at the Paharganj market in New Delhi on April 9, 2012

It's been a long time since the farmers left the "farmhouses" of Delhi, but the word now describes the weekend retreats of the upper class, playgrounds on the fringes of this emerging-market city where unmapped dirt lanes wind through poor villages and suddenly open onto lavish mansions with sprawling gardens and outsize water features.

On a foggy night in late 2010, I made my way to a party at one such fabulous home, where the valets were juggling black Bentleys and red Porsches and the hosts invited me to try the Kobe...

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