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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, 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.


  1. I always find it rather amusing when Europeans talk about "harsh, aggressive and unforgiving societies" given that that between Europeans they managed to kill 60 million people in 2 World Wars, and not too long ago at that. That said, yes, India is a tough place, and North India is particularly tough, although it hasn't yet surpassed Europe's genocidal record (and God willing, won't). The thing to remember is that Indians, even in the feudal North, are not without compassion, it's that the compassion manifests differently. Small gestures like serving water to all on hot days. Notice, though, that the compassion always ebbs up from the lower- and middle-classes of society. Did you see any of your rich neighborhood folk taking the initiative for this? North India's greatest shame is that its rich people are shameless.

  2. I think that is why I said the Common Man - had organised this - because it is precisely this that is absent here, the compassion from the rich neighbourhood. We are, whoever you are, totally "ad idem." Thanks for commenting. M


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