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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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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

44C and rising

Delhi Delhi Delhi
Its no longer just about my belly
Its that my face is red red red
And my head is sizzling hot
Like popcorn about to pop. 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

School bus

How can you be a child going to school and not feel special when the bus transporting you looks like this :

It's the end of the school year here in Delhi but I bet the kids are already looking forward to the new year as they travel in style to their school.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Art galleries are cool

Art galleries are cool ...and in Delhi this is not a factor lost to us in the hot weather. But in addition there is a lot on offer and so today I went on an art gallery frenzy all by myself but I have come back to share it all with you. The first exhibition I went to was Rebecca Horn's "Passage to Light" at the new wing of the National Gallery of Modern Art. This was the last day so sadly you will not be able to catch this one but you may be interested to know that she is regarded as one of the foremost contemporary German artists and she has won numerous awards for her work. She is clearly multi talented, producing sculptures, paintings, performances, films and poetry in copious numbers but I have to say it left me quite cold. The only piece I really enjoyed I have photographed here for you and this was when she took herself out of the picture and turned to nature but using physics and techniques to add another dimension. This wheel of feather folds up and down on a light sensor.
The second exhibition is on at the Aman Hotel in Lodhi Road until the end of this month. The hotel is a great place for seeing lovely art. This one particularly appealed to me as it uses the medium of paper which for all sorts of reasons I love. The artist, Banoo Batliboi, took old leather bound books and through very careful folding and some geometrical calculations created these delicate and lovely ripples and hearts and contours and undulations. Just lovely. Look at the hearts coming out of this book !

 Another artist in this small group show was Sachin George Sebastian who created these wonderful flowers using small pieces of paper stuck very carefully together. He also displayed paper towns and congregations.
The basement in the Hotel where the exhibition can be found by this lovely water feature.
Finally a small but interesting exhibition by two artists in the Annexe of India International Centre, called "A woman's worth, showing expressive photographs and paintings of women, old and wrinkled, young and joyful, troubled and tired. This picture of a girl's class captured it for me. International artists Suzi Levi and Johnette Iris Stubbs are exhibiting here.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Nesting in my garden

I am always awed at the natural world and what it achieves - we humans have a lot more aids to assist us with our projects. Look at this "home" just in my garden. Will post inhabitants if I catch them when they are in.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

"Crossings" at KNMA

What better way to spend a Sunday morning than wandering around the beautifully lit and overflowing with amazing art Kiran Nadar Museum in Saket. This is definitely one of my favourite museums and I decided to go along with a friend to take a look at the new exhibition called "Crossings".

So lets start from there - "Crossings" - the name is taken from the work of the artist, Rambir Kaleka who constructed four panels with fixed paintings on them but mixed these with video footage in the background which shifts and changes and at points even the fixed paintings and representations seem to have life breathed into them. The people represented are at crossings whether over countries, borders, the road and in their lives and it is a fascinating exposition of an art work which now encompasses not just the medium of painting but also cinematic representations which enliven the fixed elements of this original work of art.

The exhibition has some contemporary art but also installations that have made the transition from static art to digitized and videographed forms. I loved the stylised pictures of Dayanita Singh who took one of the most common aspects of life in offices all over India "the file room" and depicted them as they are. Clever and crafty but also lifting something out of life which may no longer be there in years to come.

The beautiful use of bindis by Bharti Kher in her elephant of fibreglass and thousands of well organised spermatic bindis. The shutters of Atul Dodhiya, half open and half closed each representing a different image to the onlooker. The Masterplans of Vivan Sundaram who displayed a town of Trash at the time when the Masterplan 2021 had come out. In the gallery he was displaying a picture in a digital medium recreating a city with rubble and refuse. The totally phantasmagorical work of Rina Banerjee in creating the "World as Burnt Fruit" with nets from Japan, bottles,cowrie shells, decorations, flowers and alligators with flashing lights for eyes. I have reproduced it from a postcard of it here but it needs to be seen to be believed and finally the as yet to me unfathomable work of Subodh Gupta.

Apart from it being an engineering feat, (art has now become an artist's concept but the collective effort of many others,) he has put together a massive structure all with domestic stainless steel kitchen ware which were produced in Korea and were welded together to produce this gigantic tree- like, mushroom structure which dominates the whole area. It is called "Line of Control" and the suggestion is this alludes to conflict areas but I cannot for the life of me see the thread to the daily utensils unless perhaps the suggestion is that daily life is positively explosive in a nuclear sort of way. Any other interpretations warmly welcome.
In a review from http://www.artmap.tv/news he is quoted as saying   ‘Line of Control’ stereotypically brings to mind geo-political conflict but I have used it here as a poetic metaphor, to transgress and subvert its known meaning and wittily present a cloud burst of another kind – of prosperity, peace and harmony.”

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Zomato Restaurant Guide 2012

Have you noticed how fast the restaurant scene is changing in Delhi ? Whereas a number of years ago most restaurants were attached to the big hotels this is no longer the case and Delhi is alive with restaurants serving a variety of tastes and spices to titillate the most demanding palate.
And Zomato ( lovely name, makes me think of something truly juicy ) has put it all together for us in a hot restaurant Guide which is being launched in Delhi on the 11th of May.

Zomato is online at www.zomato.com/ncr 
It is an easy to move around web site offering you tit bits and reviews of a large number of restaurants and eateries but the guide goes even further. It is compact and very readable with categories that appeal like Catching up, Girls Night out, Notables and Value for Money. If you are looking for something specific you will have no difficulty finding it - and then you can assess it with the guide's easy to read markers.We all have friends and guests coming through and I know I am always on the look-out for somewhere new to take them.  It is being sold for R199. which is excellent value for such a comprehensive listing but more importantly it is based on user reviews which is, after all, what it is all about.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Vikram Seth at Bookwise

There are a few places in Delhi that I love with a passion and Bookwise is one of them. This is a wonderful bookshop full of quality books, bestsellers, art and history, coffee table books and tasteful stationary run by a lovely couple Aarti and Somesh whose hearts are definitely in the written word.
Even well known authors like Vikram Seth recognize this. Last night he acknowledged that there are not many people in the world for whom he would get off an international flight and come to talk, and Aarti is one of them.
So we were entertained by a lively conversation between David Davidar and Vikram on his new book "The Rivered Earth" a collection of libretti set to music. He read extensively and eloquently from it but also from his first publication "Golden Gate" a novel in rhyme about the time he lived in California. He attributed his start in writing to being inspired by authors such as Pushkin and poets like Herbert George whose house he now lives in.
With Aarti
Admiring a portrait that was made for him.

Of course no session with Vikram Seth would ever be complete without a good dose of the most rhythmic and fun poetry from his various collections. "Beastly Tales from here and there" being one of the great favourites.Someone asked him for the Frog and the Nightingale and I said another please because I knew that one and he read the Hare and the Tortoise for me.  A lovely open personality, physically compact, witty and knowledgeable, he is quite the giant of Indian literature.

125A Shahpur Jat (nr Asiad Village), New Delhi 110049

Tel.: 26499568 / 69

Friday, 4 May 2012

Toilets top job for Bollywood Actress

In my blog a few days ago I mentioned that Bollywood is entering its 100th year. It has gotten off to an excellent start in my eyes. How do you make toilets sexy, how do people learn that dealing with human excreta is fundamental to India's development ? This basic need has to be addressed not behind the curtains or by employing the lower castes to take the problem away but by recognising that unless and until India is able to provide sanitation for millions of its residents it ain't going nowhere.
So I was thrilled to see that top actress Vidya Balan who of course won so many awards this year for her film "Dirty Picture" will now promote toilets and sanitation. 
"Sanitation needs to become a national obsession. I am ready to do it in my capacity. I am convinced."
If everyone was convinced of the necessity to make this a priority and if it stopped being such a stigmatised subject then progress might indeed be made. It's a great start to the centenary celebrations and I am hugely admiring of her taking this on. Bravo Vidya.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Interpreting Tagore

The Astad Deboo Dance Foundation gave a stunning performance last night with a vibrant group of young dancers from Salaam Baalak Trust. I went along as this is the charity that I work for and support here in India and I am only sorry that you could not share the wonderful spectacle we saw. What was even more touching was hearing the poems of Rabindranath Tagore and their interpretation through the choreography and the music.
Astad Deboo is one of the foremost contemporary dancers in India and has won numerous awards and is widely acclaimed for his work. He has worked with dancers from Salaam Baalak Trust for a number of years and for this production he worked with eight dancers. 

For me listening to the poems and watching Astad Deboo and the dancers interpret the words was magical and there are parts that resonated so strongly that I will share those words with you.

The Poem " Walking Tall"
If no one lights the beacon
on a dark and stormy night
if no one hears you knocking
and all men shut their doors
then lose not heart oh hapless one
but in the fiery thunder set
the torch of your heart aflame
and burn in the dark alone

If no one answers to your call
go your way alone 

And from Awakenings
Then the lines of all visible forms
are washed away in a flood of nectar
and I can hear the murmur
of all created things.

I watched Astad come out on stage in a flowing white gown which shimmered in the light as he fluttered and fanned those awakenings though his Sufi swirling and through the gentle craft of his elegant moves.