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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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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sad sad day for India

Today we know that in spite of all the efforts, the hopes and the prayers, the rioting and huge outrage this poor innocent young girl lost her life to a gang of vicious unthinking rapists. We are all appalled and saddened  for her her family and all of India is grieving for the loss of her life. 
What however must be remembered is that she is sadly the most visible example of something that has happens with unbelievable regularity and vulgarity in India and goes largely unnoticed and unreported.
It is not just about the severe penalties for rape and the protection of women that is called for,  it is a radical mind shift starting from the acceptance of female infants, to the value of a girl's life equal to that of a boys, to the way they can grow and be a part of society in the same way as men. Until and unless that happens there is not much hope for how women will be treated in India 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Xmas

To all Mezze Moments readers all over the world, I wish you a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year with joy, happiness and good health for you all. I would say wealth too and here is hoping that 2013 might turn out to be better than expected, but there is no doubt that many families and friends have been affected by the economic down turn. Lets all hope for better days not just for our sakes but those of our children.So have a lovely Xmas from a rather rainy London town where I am spending Xmas, surrounded by family and a fuzzy Xmas tree. Alcohol induced fuzziness, time for new glasses or new camera....
The sentiments are all wrapped up in its fuzziness. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Rose Home

Nearly nine months ago we undertook a project of renovation and repair of a Salaam Baalak Trust Home called Rose Home. Through the very generous support of many friends who have given money from all over the world, but in particular Celia Marsh, and with the unfailing energy of my other half in this project, Adam Budd we have made significant improvements to the Home and to the girls lives.

It was not just about fixing the drains, putting in new loos and sinks, repairing the walls and the chairs and setting up a computer room but also making sure the girls had fans in the hot summers and sheets for their beds, cold water and somewhere shady to sit outside.It was to make the girls feel this was their home and they could have a part in its reorganisation and operation.

We have had many a frustrating moment in the process but there are no pools of water on the floor, no rubbish in the adjoining plot and enough bathrooms that work for all the girls. 

Most importantly the money which continued to come in from Celia has now been used to employ two wonderful teachers who come to the Home and teach the girls on a daily basis, from the basics, Hindi and learning how to read and write, to the more advanced English, to theatre and design and art classes.
Here are some of the boring bits of change interspersed with the human and palpable joy of the girls.

 The open sewer that used to run outside the Home has now been concreted over at last.
 The sinks are new and all work with taps and drains that are properly fitted.
 The girls have a whole new area on the roof with a sink where they can wash clothes.
 The dormitories all have fans

 The lighting is much improved in all the Home and the electricity system overhauled
 Kushboo now goes to Art lessons and is doing fantastic work.
 The girls have a good library at their disposal
Chairs to sit on and Computers to work with 
The teachers and the counsellors with Adam  

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bell Bajao and Breakthrough

Its a simple concept and I like it. It means ring the bell - it is directed at every person who is aware of violence going on and takes a simple action, such as ringing the bell, to stop or interrupt the violence.

It is not the definitive answer to domestic violence, but it is a great starting point and when men and boys, bystanders and communities stand up against violence, homes are made safer for women and families.

It is based on the basic principle that human rights start with each and every one of us as we can take responsibility for what know goes on around us.

Breakthrough is a global human rights organisation empowering individuals and communities to stand up for universal human rights. Bell Bajao is one of its campaigns which started in India but is now going global.

It stands for standing up against abusive behaviour.

To see more:

Participate in community work
Become a friend on facebook
Watch work on You tube
Join email list and stay in the loop about events and issues
Support Breakthrough with a donation

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Gujarat's wildlife

We only visited Sasan Gir but there was a distinct purpose to that visit which was to see if we could spot the only lions left in India and indeed we did. But we enjoyed lovely game drives seeing the other wildlife that the park had to offer and even the areas beyond the park.The park is mainly teak and the leaves were just beginning to turn transparent and as thin as fine embroidery. 

Our camp was right next to a reservoir which was full of the most beautiful herons, ibises, kingfishers and bee eaters. Our drive back to the camp came to an abrupt stop on our first day when I spotted something long and black in our path and as we came closer a black cobra lifted its triangular head to greet us but mercifully it did not spit on us. This was our first ever encounter with a snake, and a venomous one at that in India, and it left us all a little shivery and quite excited that we had seen it so close. 

The park was full of spotted dear and we were soon going to discover that they are a predator's favourite food. As we were driving along early one morning our guide spotted a leopard, sitting not very far from us, with its beautiful spotted back to us. It was being partly shielded by a termite mound and on the other side of the termite mound a small herd of spotted deer were grazing oblivious to the leopard's presence. Within a flash it bounded over and made a dash for one of the young ones and within a minute it had apprehended it and it was lying lifeless in its jaw. The leopard walked casually but cautiously away holding on to its catch while the mother stood emitting plaintive cries for the loss of her baby. There was no time for cameras, no time to even breathe, it was too close, too raw and  distinctly unforgettable. 

We had not lost sight of the fact that after several days the cats, apart from the leopard had eluded us so we were delighted when on our last morning we came across four lionesses sitting in the path at dawn. The jeeps started arriving. News spreads fast when the lions are spotted. They seemed very unconcerened with us and after a while they got up and wandered away in the dim light before dawn. Most jeeps stayed hoping to follow them but we decided to take another route and there in our path was the most majestic of lions who strolled alongside our vehicle. When asked if this posed any danger to us our guide said lions are royals animals and they know they have nothing to fear from humans and his behaviour really said as much. He found a piece of shade in the forest and sat down allowing us wonderful views of him. 

Royal in every way and we were thrilled to have been granted an extended audience !