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

Friday, 29 June 2012

Weaving in and out and feeling your way round

Quite a novel way to do things but that is exactly what I did a few days ago when I went round with an eager group of women to Nehru Place, the quintessential place for weaves, silks, cottons, shawls and scarves, upholstery, broderie anglaise and applique work. Running your finger tips across the fine cotton and feeling the weight of the silk and the brocades, the embroidery and the beading and getting a feel for the weight of a fabric, the way it falls and then letting your mind run away with what you can create from it.
All this under the instructive and creative eye of Ros Miscamble, an Australian friend with fabulous taste who creates lovely linen and cotton dresses tops and trousers from her many trips to this fascinating place. You could say she was a fabric fiend and it would be a real compliment. So rich pickings of that day for you:
Some of the more glamorous materials
A few of the silks
If you want to connect to Ros go to:  http://www.rjmcollection.com.au/summer2012/Summer2012Catalogue.pdf

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rudraksha Beads

They come from the Rudraksha tree found mainly in Nepal and Java.They are possibly the equivalent of what in my country would be called a "komboloi" or worry beads. They are often worn by monks for tranquility and to help concentration. An exhibition of Rudraksha beads was on at the Cottage emporium in Janpath but also we are told that a Rudraksha Museum is being planned as well. So watch out for this.  

What is interesting is that they are advertised as being beneficial for all and with instant benefits, though other benefits may take time. The following was taken from an interview I saw in the newspaper:
Can all wear Rudraksha ?
"Yes everyone irrespective of sex, age , culture, ethnic geographical and religious background can wear it."

Then further on : Can ladies wear it ???
"Yes they can, barring those 4-5 days when nature is at work. Is it that only hindus can wear it? No all can wear, Sun, Moon, Stars, rivers and plants have no religion !"

There are Rudrakshas for People in Service, for Business Power, executives and Businessmen, for Industrialists and Speculators and even an exclusive combination for people with High ambitions ! 

Amazing explanations, amazing foresight ensuring all are covered -These pictures have been taken from 
Wikipaedia as I didnt have any of my own but the last one is one of the exhibition I went to.
The exhibition was very crowded , people were being assessed for their needs and workers were on hand to make up the various necklaces and bracelets. One person told me that they are a very old and hallowed practice which is found in old scriptures so there must be something there. Cant wait to try them !

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Censorship in India ??

The URL you requested has been blocked as per instructions from Department of Telecom(CHNN). URL = www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150905855914685&

Has anyone received messages such as the one above ? They are coming up more and more and I dont know whether they are a technical glitch or a sign of censorship.

Any information gratefully received.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tiger tiger burning bright

We were driving along in the coolness of the sal when C said he thought he spotted a tiger crossing the path. We sped up to where he thought he saw it, but there was nothing to see but dense undergrowth. No sooner had we set off then the alarm calls from the barking deer were heard coming anxiously and frequently. So there was no doubt there was a tiger- the only question was where ??
A group climbed up an observation tower and kept watch but we all failed to see the tiger. We decided to go for lunch and a rest at a nearby forest lodge. In the afternoon we asked our driver to return to the observation tower. The tiger had been sighted but had moved off. We were a little disappointed as were a couple of cars in front of us who sped off. We rounded the corner to follow them and out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of this lean, young male who was having a well earned rest. By that time we were the only car there so we sat and watched him happily till he tired of us and moved into the undergrowth.

This cheeky little monkey was leaving no footprints but plenty of banana skins.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Corbett proper

We had the joy of visiting Corbett some time ago but only saw the south part of the park so we resolved to go back to explore it further. It's enormous and for us the only way we could get maximum enjoyment was by arranging to stay within the park in the forest lodges for which a special permit is required to sleep in simple rooms where the electricity goes off at about 9.30pm but you are out and in the park by first light.
We did exactly that and thorougly enjoyed the experience.Here is the forest lodge.
There is so much to see and savour so here are some of the highlights of that trip. We visited an ancient temple to Sitavani within the park and it was situated in an idyllic spot on a hillside with water features and an abundance of both langurs and rhesus monkeys. 
The forest of sal trees which are evergreens were always cool and pleasant to drive in but as soon as we hit the plains and grasslands or the river beds the sun would be ferocious.
We saw so many wonderful birds but this one captured my imagination. It is called the dollar bird !
Watermelon coral beak, coal black head but then gradiating feathers to a rich royal blue.
 A serpent eagle with its kill.
A tawny fish owl taking a rest in the cool shade of a tree.
I also spotted the spot bellied eagle owl which was truly amazing.The light was fading and so the picture is dark but just imagine Barbara Cartland with enormous glasses and then put them on an owl. Just the best.
This is a male Kalij Pheasant - we saw pairs of them along the way.
 But also the amazing white-crested laughing thrush, orange headed thrush, pygmy and grey headed woodpeckers white rumped shama, Indian pitta birds, stork billed kingfishers, a honey buzzard, and scarlet minivets which are like dashes of scarlet in the sky. The amazingly named and coloured dollar bird, the emerald dove, the lineated barbet, the pintailed pigeon, thousands of magpie robins, the elegant white tailed paradise flycatchers and black headed and red vented bulbuls - to name but a few !  
We saw jungle cat, monitor lizards, sambar and barking deer, purple butterflies and the best was yet to come.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

No brainer

Or no brains left perhaps would make a more accurate title. For years it seems that Indian women have either opted to sail closer to death or have been put there - either option seems a little hard and god knows most of them lead a hard enough life as it is.

The latest news that hit the newspapers today was that women wearing crash helmets stand a bigger chance of surviving an accident than those who don't. Seriously how many years has it taken them to work that one out ? And still there are obstacles in passing this legislation it seems.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Completing the circle

I sometimes have memories of events or happenings, tastes or experiences which of course marked my upbringing, my thought processes and my outlook. From as complex as the literature I read to as simple as the tastes I tasted. Today I am going to share exactly this taste memory with you.

Growing up in Cyprus there was one Chinese Restaurant on the island not far from our house. We often went to this restaurant for celebratory meals and would have spring rolls and an assortment of main dishes but I would always have lychees for dessert. For me they came in an ice cream metal cup, were always cold and refreshing, quite sweet and unlike any other fruit I had ever tasted.

As I grew I was able to go to the shops and recognise a tin of Lychees but that is where the adventure ended. Until, that is, I came to India. I blogged about the appearance of fresh lychees on the streets and the roads are full of barrows selling them at the moment. But it wasn't until I had been to Uttarkhand that I could finally complete the circle. Uttarkhand was rich and fertile, full of mango and lychee orchards and the green pendulous mangoes contrasted with the shamelessly blushing pink and plentiful bunches of lychees.

I have now completed the circle- from a memory of childhood, a tin on a supermarket shelf - to freshly picked and dangling off a lychee tree.

Friday, 1 June 2012

For the common good

This is a harsh, aggressive and unforgiving society and I make no apology for saying so.In my time here I have seen things that have made me shudder, that have shaken my belief in the common good, that are so inequitable as to be monstrous and unacceptable.
The capital is in the grips of a heat wave. The temperatures are soaring, the streets are empty, the sun is too strong and harsh for people to be out in it. 47 C yesterday and how that affects me is that my A/Cs don't work because the power is not strong enough, so they emit hot air, the power simply ceases about 8 times a day as the consumption levels go through the roof and there are few places that you can escape to. I have a pool, a house, a roof, occasionally a fan and A/C and a back up generator. SO MANY DONT.

I think about my house girl in her small practically windowless room which is cooled by a desert cooler many years old, I think about the fruit sellers standing in the sun trying to sell their fruit, ( I cannot understand why they elect to park themselves in the sun) I think about the manual labourers who are on the building site next door especially the women, toiling in these temperatures, where the water is hot from the sun, where there is no shade, no shame, no sanity.

And yet in all of this harshness, all along my way today, the common man with others to help had set up stalls offering drinks to every passer by. A drink called Ruhapsa and Sharbat ( sherbet to you and me). The drink is cloudy pink and supposed to refresh you, to act as a tonic, a pick me up. I stopped to check it out and this young boy rushed over to give me a cup. Then you start believing again though I have no doubt that lives will be lost to the sun this time.