Hello welcome to my Blog

Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

Search This Blog

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Goa 2010

Taking your clothes can be therapeutic for so many reasons -
The realisation sadly, that you can no longer fit "comfortably " into a ten year old bikini.
The sharp reminder that waxing can no longer be postponed.
Becoming re-acquainted with those exposed knees all knobbly and humpy.
The welcome sensation of heat on your skin.
Sun induced thoughts.
The coolness of water on skin.
The use of muscles you forgot existed.
Alternatively, perhaps preferably, their non use for protracted periods of time.
Saving on laundry, hence saving the planet.
Flirting fabulously under the shield of a sarong.
Buying far more sarongs than you can ever have use for and engaging in shameless retail therapy.
Ignoring all red flags and challenging boundaries, while recklessly red.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Colour Blue and er.. Rubbish

Yes there is a lot of it here and it is spread around so you cannot miss it. Having it on display however (do not be alarmed it is not there in the true smelling sense) takes it to a different level completely and this is what the Indian artist Vineet who is responsible for this art work tried to show at this interesting exhibition.

The Colors Exhibitions Curational Art Project takes part at Abadi Art Space in New Delhi.

It's composed of three exhibitions The Colour Blue, Black and White and Red.

"The aim of the project is to explore curational and art practices and blend it together with contemporary art pieces.The proposed exercise is to use the gallery space as a studio to create a dimensional picture. In this manner the art works displayed in the exhibitions are the art material that the artist curator uses to create an exhibition that is a picture itself."so says Jose who put it all together.
Not only is this exhibition eye catching but the area seems to have appeal. I had not visited before and I am planning to go back to check it out more fully after the holidays. If you are in Delhi and wanting to kill a couple of hours go to this interesting exhibition and then take in all the other galleries, and there are a lot of them, all along the main road of Lado Sarai.

The Exhibition is on until 9th January but ring just to make sure about opening hours over the Xmas and New Year holiday. The Curator is Jose who would be more then happy to show you around and explain some of the art work to you or to your group.
Abadi Art Space

Jose Abad
F - 213 / A 1st Floor
Lado Sarai
New Delhi
Tl: + 91 9873665860
Tl: + 91 (0) 11 41078186
E-mai: jose@abadiart.com
Web: www.abadiart.com

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas 2010 everyone

To you all, friends from afar and closer by, new friends and old ones, readers who come across Mezze Moments and stay, those that give it a fleeting glance...to you all a very Merry Christmas. The tree is in from the garden, the lights are on, my son's wonderful snowman is up and there are presents for all.

Merry Christmas everyone !

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The National Museum, Delhi

Went off to the National Museum today to see Inuit Art from the Canadian Arctic !!
The exhibition is small and compact with some interesting older sculptures of Inuit art and some more contemporary pieces. I have to say I found the sculptures, usually done on granite or serpentine stone quite morose and sad, perhaps a reflection of their hard life, a life lacking sunlight. The only item that really grabbed my fancy was this funky teapot.
I want to tell you a little more about my trip though. I arrived and walked into the central hall that houses the ticket office. In the dome centre was scaffolding everywhere and I walked under it conscious that half the time they were fixing big metal scaffolds and then dismatling others. I walked through. There was no protection available for the people who were coming in nor a path designated for them to avoid having to walk under all this construction work. Paintwork was going on all along the main corridor. The floor was splashed with paint, the statues, some priceless were wrapped with newspaper, a little haphazardly. There was nowhere to sit while I waited for my friend so I walked into the library where there was no one and I said to the man there :

May I sit down ?  
No Madam he said
I laughed almost unbelievingly -
Why not ? I said
There is nowhere else to sit I said pointing outside.
Only for staff Madam
But can't I sit down just until my friend comes ?
No Madam
Well that was the end of that then !!

I waited outside under the scaffolding and watched the school parties arriving. Smiling happy faces, in impeccable elaborate uniforms. However there were quite a few disabled children, children with crutches, prostheses, children with polio, children with cerebral palsy and unable to walk and I watched with horror as these poor kids struggled up the steps of the Museum.The National Museum has no disabled access. One child had to be carried by the teacher and then other pupils brought his wheelchair up for him.
The infinite pride that these children have in their country and their history, and they do, is dashed daily by these glaring inadequacies, these unacceptable omissions for their welfare and their education.

I was pretty shocked by what I was witnessing. It seems so shortsighted. Here's hoping that some of these refreshements and renovations will include a disabled access too and that next time I go it will be a wholly improved picture. If anyone knows differently I would be happy to have my vision reversed.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Satpura Reservoir

There is nothing like seeing and feeling water all around you. Something that we sorely miss living in Delhi so any opportunity to be close to water is warmly embraced and none more so then the reservoir we came across in Satpura.Created by flooding the Denwa River it is an expanse of water which stretches for miles and is the magnet for migratory and other birds, crocodiles and fish.

This is the jetty that we used to cross over into the National Park.

One of the rivers with huge glacial boulders making for wonderful reflections in the water.
The highlight for me was a cycle ride to the reservoir where this boy took us out in his dogout. We looked at the geese and ducks in their V formations flying overhead and spotted the lapwings, the waders and the hornbills.

High tea by the reservoir

Anthony realising that rowing is quite a skill !

The dugout which filled with water alarmingly fast but which the boys controlled ably with an empty tin.

The light falling like slivers of silver on the water.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Satpura National Park

It is little known. A little bit of a secret treasure but so lovely.

In the middle of Madhya Pradesh, near the Satpura Range of hills and not far from Pachmari, a lovely hill station with breathtaking natural beauty, lies Satpura National Park.
What makes it special is exactly the fact that not many people know about it, you have to cross a reservoir to get to it and the road to it is sufficiently pot holey to put off the average camera clicking camper. This is one of the beautiful homesteads along the road to the national park.

The Denwa river becomes a reservoir and this vast expanse of water which is so attractive to the eye is also a huge attraction for migrating birds. I shall blog about this next.

The park has tiger, leopard, sloth bear, wild dog, Gaur and all types of deer and antelope as well as squirrels, porcupines and hyenas.

And what a thrill it is when the animals appear- this time I want to tell you about about only two- we spotted a sloth bear and its cub and a little further down the road a large male who could have been the dad. We were incredibly lucky because these animals are nocturnal and are very hard to spot but it was dusk on our first day there, the light was fading but there they were in front of us and not in a hurry to move so we feasted our eyes on them for a long while. As my camera decided to go on the blink I have found another picture to show you what they are like. They are big and furry and just unlike anything that I expected to see in the jungle in India. They love termites and often burrow holes in the ground with their long claws, looking for them,which gives away their presence but to see them in the dusk ...well what a treat that was.

We saw a lot of other animals, deer and antelope, some tame and habituated to humans.

The other impressive animal that we encountered here is the Indian Gaur. It is the biggest wild bison in India and it looks like a buffalo with armoured plating on it. This is my picture of a large dark male which sadly was suffering from my camera being on the blink, so blurred, but it is good enough for you to appreciate their size- They are massive and like wandering around in herds.
What I love about them is their white stockinged feet !
 A baby was suckling from its mum and every time the milk outflow lessened he would give his mum a right old headbutt to get it going again.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Reni Pani

Ali and Faiz make this place what it is.

Let me start at the beginning. We are always on the lookout for wildlife sanctuaries and this place was warmly recommended to us. We now know why. It is quite special and came about because two boys whose parents gave them a love of nature and the freedom to choose, decided to pursue their dreams and created Reni Pani.It is named after a berry and a village nearby. It is a jungle lodge nestled in the forest of Madhya Pradesh which opened a mere 9 months ago but which is going to be popular for a lot of reasons.

We flew to Bhopal and drove to the lodge but actually it would have probably been more sensible to have taken a train to Piparia or Hoshangabad as the road is quite bad. They can then send a car out to collect you.

The place is hidden in teak and butter tree forest and after a briefing by Faiz we were shown to our lodge which was perched on a hilltop. Along the way we came across this beautiful spider which stood out against the sunlight. Once we had spotted her we saw a lot more on our way.
There are twelve lodges with three distinct styles, Nallah facing units, forest units and hilltop units. We were in a hilltop unit and this is the view from our balcony.

It is spread over 30 acres with a nallah running through the middle.
The pool
A slightly fuzzy picture of our room.
We particularly enjoyed the bathrooms with indoor but also outdoor rain showers which were fabulous. The lovely big windows looking out onto the forest from where you could sit and take it all in. Meals were carefully planned and locally sourced.We were woken up with bed tea at 530 am with flute music which could not have made our awakening sweeter. There is a very well stocked library with books about wildlife and the area but also novels that you can borrow and a small but select shop for gifts. Massages are available and of course the swimming pool after game viewing was a relaxing part of our day.

More about the Satpura National Park where we spent our time while at Reni Pani in my next blog.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Before and After

Forgive me for using this analogy. It hardly does justice to the subject. "Before", that is some days ago I went on a Saalam Balaak Walk in the Streets of Delhi. As always, this walk ends at the holding centre where the "lost railway children" are housed while they are assessed. Children who are abused, addicted, alone are talked to by social workers at various contact points on the railway line and if they agree they can be taken in by SBT to be looked after. For me visiting this holding centre is heart wrenching and I struggle to fight back the tears every time I am there. On this visit there was a little boy who must have been 7 or 8 and who was sobbing quietly where he was sitting. I feel the need to take away his sadness and to be the instant remedy to his grief but sadly I cannot do that- which makes it even harder.He has recently come off the railway line and he has lost his family and was finding it hard to adjust to his new life.
Here they are:

The "After" to this moment is the one I experienced when I went to the SBT's dance performance at the Chinmaya auditorium a few days later. I walked in to this big theatre and there was standing room only. All the homes, the children, the staff members, friends, volunteers, guests and lastly by no means least the founder of this wonderful Trust Mira Nair (who made "Salaam Bombay" in 1988 about the slum kids in Mumbai) were all gathered there to watch the children perform and my god what a performance it was. The cheers and clapping, the squeals of delight at the handsome boys and the girls who were performing brought the house down.
Everything, the choreography, the lighting, the videoing, the costumes, the music were all put together by SBT children and it was slick and professional and a delight to watch. Teenagers took us through some wonderful Bollywood numbers and some fantastic acrobatic moves and the younger children delighted the whole audience with their turned up jeans and cheeky smiles.

In my hurry to get there I did not take my camera, but perhaps I have painted an accurate enough picture for all of you to take away the sound of the clapping and the cheering.

These are the Trust's children, who have stopped crying, have gone into one of the homes, have settled down to a family life which involves all the children and the staff of their homes and who are graduating with flying colours and daring to dream dreams that they never in their wildest "before" lives thought imagineable.

The "After" effect has produced actors, acclaimed photographers,computer software programmers and travels agents, able administrators and artists. But above all the trust has the ability to turn these lost lives into lives empowered with confidence and knowledge and a belief in oneself. What a humbling achievement.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Delhi by Alice and Ben

This is what Alice said about Delhi and somehow I think it captures the city very accurately and is beautifully written so with their kind permission I am reproducing it here together with a picture of them I took when we visited Hauz Khas.

"On reflection, Delhi is a city of the most incredible contrasts testing your ability to respond and adapt with every street crossed and every encounter made. Amazing walled wealth sits up against primitive poverty. The quiet calm of Delhi’s elegant green parks and majestic history are encroached by the desperate need of its current citizens for shelter and space. Mogul monuments and modern motorway bridges are inhabitated by those with no where else to go and no option of safety or permanence. Traffic lights provide opportunity for opposing worlds to collide through air conditioned glass as tattered five year olds plead for money and sweets before the traffic surges on and they scurry back to the kerb to review their successes. The most beautiful dressed women of our journey in peacock coloured saris, immaculate in the dust, carry huge dirty bundles on their heads whilst men look on chewing and spitting. There is a kaleidoscope of stimulation wherever you turn; sizzling pooris are swept from deep pans of oil, delicate fingers construct flowing fireworks of marigolds and roses, dogs run in eager tail-wagging packs between hills of seemingly abandoned bricks and the air is never still from piercing accent of horns. For me Delhi is not a place to love unconditionally but to think about intensively. This is a place that thrives on inequality, with some gulfs widening as ever separate cities and separate lives are built behind guarded boundaries. Alice"

Does their description of the city from a temporary visit resonate with you ? It certainly did for me.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Mehrauli flower market in Wedding season

We took a walk there a few days ago with Ben and Alice who are visiting and while I may have blogged about the market before seeing it during wedding season was quite amazing. The amount of flowers being weighed and sold, the nimble fingers beavering away and the thousands of garlands on display were just a feast for the eyes. This blog is for Ben and Alice bright and observant onlookers of the world, who are just completing a round the world trip which took them to California, Fiji, New Zealand and Borneo among other places.It was lovely to see you and spend time with you and may your future be flower full and fragrant.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


For those of you seeking a medieval city which has withstood the ravages of time you could not chose better than a visit to Orccha. This is not far from Kahajuraho but feels quieter and more relaxed. It is built on the banks of the river Betwa which is a beautiful fairly fast flowing river. It is such a shame that when we went to enjoy the sunset by the river side we had to watch where we walked and stood as this spot of considerable beauty was used by locals as ...well...a poo stop.

Based in Madhya Pradesh this is a wonderful 16th century castle and palace at the time of the Bundhela dynasty.It is preserved virtually intact and what is wonderful about it, is that unlike so many of the archeological sites in India these days where large parts are closed off to visitors here you can really roam around.

 Climb the stairs to the top floor to see the magnificent views of the river and the valley below. Have a feel for the rooms and palaces all of which are open and can be explored. Look close up at the wonderful painted ceilings and the intricate wooden carvings and enjoy the stories of intrigue and conspiracy that any guide worth his salt will offer up.Visit the cenotaphs which were built to honour members of the dynasty.Big and impressive but an empty testament to those for whom they were built.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Pushkar 2010

If you or I throw a lotus leaf on the ground gravity will take its course and there it will lay. When Brahma throws one though a lake is created and even more remarkably in a desert area like Rajastan. It is this little town of Pushkar which is blessed with this lake with special powers that I visited just a few days ago. The Camel Fair in Pushkar is held every year round about this time but always under a full and yellow moon. 

I went not really knowing what to expect other than perhaps colour and some animals and I came back with an overwhelming sense of why this country is so special and its people so unique. Pushkar is one of the festivals which perhaps is heard of in the West and which tourists travel here specially to see. So when I saw a carousel I had a slight feeling of foreboding. I hate fun fairs - I really do and it was a nightmare for me if ever the children wanted to go to one. This is a funfair with a difference.

Pushkar is 11 kms from Ajmer. We travelled there by train and went to our campsite. Pushkar is a small town which swells enormously in population, (about 200,000 visitors and 50,000 animals) to accomodate the pilgrims, the visitors and the merchants. So a lot of temporary camp sites are set up but as with a lot of these marquees and outdoor living the Indians excel and we had spacious tents with hand woven colourful carpets on the floor and an adjoining bathroom with a western style loo, a washbasin, a tarpaulin floor and a bucket. What more could a girl want.

We were eager to go out and explore and we did - on camels that is - we rode off on these ungainly animals which seem prehistoric in structure and movement  and we cut through the open fields littered with temporary pens for the beautiful marwari horses, the camels and some goats. The men rode the animals, sat, smoked and chatted, the women cut down the grass and tied up sugar cane in bundles, the children ran riot after the tourists and had fun.

We wound our way up a hillside. Pushkar is almost in a dip surrounded by gentle hillocks and undulating paths. The camel I was on, called Moti, had a peculiar sway.You adopted the movement and went along with it, occasionally it would snort but largely speaking it seemed to have a resigned attitude to its burden. We arrived at a hilltop and there waiting for us was the sunset, high tea and the most handsome man I have seen with his delicate female partner who sang from behind her pink and golden sari while he played lyrical song with prompts to her on his indian violin.

I have to confess I could not get enough of his majestic face and in any other instance I would have been compromising my safety perhaps and her wrath by staring at him so much. His eyes were red, almost blood shot but his irises were blue, steely blue and bewitching.His face was that of a perfect Rajastani man. Tanned, moustachioed and weather beaten.

We watched the sun disappearing and dusk briefly enveloped this landscape. Camel carts transported us back to our camp where we ate heartily and tried to get warm. Deserts are well known for this but as is always the case we were not prepared enough and going to bed was one way to get warm. I was under two blankets and two quilted covers - effectively cemented in - and my thoughts went out to those who were sleeping on the side of the road or those who had travelled far to be here with their animals and who had nothing but a wood fire to keep them warm.
The day brought the warmth we so needed and we set out to explore. There were constant programmes all day long involving milking, wrestling, water pot races by women, horse races, camel races and tugs of war.The mela area is huge with stalls, shops, eateries and eager shoppers everywhere. We did our fair amount of shopping and gawping but what was interesting was that while there were foreigners there, this whole Fair was a real celebration for the locals who came from far and wide whether because of the animal market or because they wanted to dip themselves in the lake and cleanse themselves while doing a puja. We saw proud men with huge turbans leading groups of spectacularly dressed women through the streets,we saw endless families jumping off the roofs of buses clutching their bundles and heading to the Lake. We enjoyed looking at the young women huddled in front of the jewellery stalls.We smiled at youths who were clearly out to have a fun time and we marvelled at the older men whose faces said so much.
There was an awful lot of staring going on here, I am not ashamed to admit it. It was mutual. They liked looking at us but not half as much as I liked looking at them.

We caught the sunset over the lake, watched the pilgrims bathe. This is the first place where I saw women  bare breasted dipping themselves in the Lake.There were fireworks over the Lake and celebrations all around the ghats.

The closing ceremony was held in the Mela ground and was a feast for all eyes, camel processions with fierce looking Rajastanis their moustaches curling upwards and round their cheeks, brandishing their swords and wearing their finest jewellery.


The women dancing in fields of crimson, lilac, fuschia and fire red to the drumbeats of the local players. The stadium was full to the hilt, but some of the VIP chairs reserved for guests were empty. That was my only sadness that people who had travelled miles were not let in to occupy these seats. There was such an overwhelming sense of pride that went out with cheers for the camel riders and the local men who fought the tug of war.People were there because this place was significant and meaningful and there was a real sense of carnival, pilgrimage and purpose that came together in this display of colour, custom and creed.