When you're traveling through the crowded markets of India your intuition will probably tell you to hold tightly to your valuables and avoid following any solicitors.
At the Devaraja Market in Mysore, India it is a common practice for families to send their kids out to solicit foreign travelers to the booths where they sell goods. Of course they choose the cutest kids to perform this role and yes, these kids should probably be in school instead of selling goods at the market, but this is the way things work here.
When I met young Akbar at the market I was taken aback by how well he spoke English, as I have been working in India for many years now and he spoke English better and more confidently than some of my business partners. I threw caution to the wind and let Akbar take me to his family's essential oil booth at the market.
Akbar proceeded to take me inside where he gave me a lesson on making incense sticks. His uncle explained how they made the oils and showed me his recipe book of cologne and fine fragrances. As it turns out they can mix up your favorite scent (e.g. Chanel No.5, Hugo Boss, Eternity by CK, etc...) right there on the spot.
I learned that young Akbar can speak six languages and that the family's business had been in the market for four generations.
I ended up buying some incense and enough essential oils to last me for years for around $10USD. If a cute kid approaches you in the market then I say follow. It was an experience I will always remember!