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Some years ago in more carefree times I was drinking coffee and enjoying an olive oil bread roll made by Hafiz, the original owner of the Magic cafe. The Magic Cafe Two women (one wearing a turquoise headscarf) Eat cake, drink coffee With silent relish. A small reward, so innocent, at the end of a […] Read more

University Parks

Two park benches commemorating deceased “lovers of the Parks” simply CHOLMONDLEY, pronounced “Chumley” Some people walk or jog, or walk their dogs, at the same time every day. You see ancient dons in their old tweed jackets often talking to themselves, shuffling on scuffed soles, or well-off retirees taking their post prandial stroll, or immensely […] Read more

Vikram Seth at home 28 years ago THE SUITABLE BOY COMES HOME reads the headline “Vikram Seth’s book has universal appeal with its many levels and versatile use of language” The Pioneer Book page of January 27, 1993 Nearly thirty years ago I was a columnist for the Pioneer newspaper in India. I wrote a […] Read more

The cog in the machine

This is not me bragging, but my entire life has skipped by with hardly an aspirin or at the most a paracetemol slipping down my gullet. Admittedly, there were the times I was laid low by Delhi belly, chicken pox in my thirties, a little breakdown after my divorce when I flushed the anti-depressants down […] Read more

The gang from Kampos

As soon as the last visitors drive away to the airport in Kalamata- winding through the craggy mountain landscape with its olive groves and villages garlanded with pomegranate trees studded with scarlet fruit- the gang from Kampos descends to the shoreline to harvest its abundance for the household supply of oil. Dora and Ionnis from […] Read more

Giuseppe and his olive oil

Remember when restaurants started putting out a puddle of oil with a slick of balsamic and lots of bread for dipping while you looked at a menu? That added 700 calories before you’d even ordered, but hey, It was Mediterranean, it was fun, it was sophisticated! The oil could have been a metallic tasting Berio […] Read more

Mostly a Lament (for Kashmir)

Stricken by a passing lorry willow wands lie prostrate, un-feathered (green daggers loved by W. Morris) whipped off their tree forever.   Wading in a mountain torrent, avalanche of water biffing black rock gentling green eddies, spuming white depths, the wall-eyed Kashmiri ghillie tore strips off bendy willow branches, trussing trout brown slippery cold, tricked […] Read more

Dentists I have known

The white coat, the soothing tone, the plastic glass of antiseptic rinse, the long chair, the presence or absence of music, the masked attendant- the stuff of nightmares! Having just returned home after a lengthy session (painless, I must add and an almost pleasant experience in relation to the build-up of dread) I remembered the […] Read more

lollipop pink helmets

Outrageous, even for Delhi. A child riding a Vespa! Down the neem avenue next to dusty Afghan tombs flanked by Royal palms (commanded by Lady Willingdon) A smaller child riding pillion, perky with new-oiled hair and squashed like mash potato between paratha of driver and the other, a cushiony elder's hips and arms making an […] Read more

King of Fruits

The only redemption for the fiery furnace of Indian summers is the extravaganza of mangoes. Over 300 varieties of a seasonal treat that is, sadly, denied to diabetics because when ripe it is the sweetest fruit of all. The summers of my childhood are memories of prickly heat, afternoon naps under the fan, looking for […] Read more