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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.

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Friday, 15 April 2011

British India of Bygone days

One of the most appealling aspects of living in India is that it is almost an open history book. With little imagination and some background you can actually visualize places and people as there is so much evidence of past times here still. So it was with considerable interest that I visited North Delhi to explore that time in colonial history at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th Century.
I wanted to see the Civil Lines - the area where the British lived and look at the community around there which includes the cemetery and St James's church.

The story is a captivating one, not unlike some of the relationship aspects of mixed couples in "White Moghul"  written by William Dalrymple.
Skinner was the mixed race son of a scottish father and a Rajput mother. He was rejected by the British army but he fought in other battles and was badly wounded. He prayed to God that if he survived he would build a church and he built St James's Church near Kashmere Gate which became the Church attended by the Viceroy and all the Anglican community. Skinner is actually buried in the church. Afer surviving Skinner started a cavalry regiment  called Skinner's Horses or the Yellow boys (from their uniforms) and he went on to win many battles. His regiment was finally made part of the regular Indian army and still exists today. Skinner had fourteen wives and countless children some of whom are buried in the church ground.
Just a little further is the Nicholson Cemetery- The grave of John Nicholson can be seen just near the entrance on the right. He was one of the officers who fought during the first War of Indian Independence in 1857.
It is well tended, clearly less used these days, but the headstones talk loudly to you of a troubled time, of a time of battles and lost young lives. I looked carefully around and there were few headstones of older people, most losing their lives in their 20s and 30s in battle or through disease.

More poignant however were the countless messages from grieving parents who lost their babies and toddlers at very young ages to fevers, disease and malnutrition. There was a resignation and a graciousness in these messages giving their children up to God's will.

They touched me deeply as there is no greater loss than that of a parent burying a child.

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