Morning Ragas at Habitat Centre

There’s nothing quite like a bit of raga in the morning. Raga means “the act of colouring”, a metaphor for arousing love and desire, joy and delight. The improvised songs use between five and nine notes to form a melody. According to Wikipedia, “the way the notes are approached and rendered in musical phrases and… Continue reading Morning Ragas at Habitat Centre

There’s no city like Delhi

William Dalrymple at the Times LitFest This weekend the Times of India has arranged a festival of talks about art, politics, music, film and literature at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. William Dalrymple is my favourite author at the moment (“City of Djinns” is my bedtime reading). He was scheduled to speak at… Continue reading There’s no city like Delhi

Lodi Gardens

Before the Second World War, Lady Willingdon*, wife of the Governor General, landscaped the area around several mausoleums housing the remains of rulers of Delhi from 1444 – 1526. This required evicting people living in settlements around the tombs. Lady Willingdon Park was renamed  Lodi Gardens after Independence. It is well worth a visit for… Continue reading Lodi Gardens

Thursday Doors – November 24

Chawri Bazar Road used to be where the nautch girls lived before the Mutiny in 1857 in Old Delhi. Some just danced, others were courtesans. They plied their trade above the ground floor shops so clients would have to go through narrow doors and ascend a steep staircase to get to the seraglio. Thursday Doors… Continue reading Thursday Doors – November 24

Wedding Banquet Halls

Weddings are big in India: huge numbers of guests, masses of flowers and decorations, tables groaning with food and whisky. The loudspeaker volume is cranked up to 11. The organisers need special venues where professionals can manage all the arrangements. These emporia congregate along Mahatma Gandhi Road (AH1) in Azadpur, from the “Royal Pepper” to… Continue reading Wedding Banquet Halls

Hard Work – a photographic essay

Poor people in India work hard. Manual labour is cheap. Here are some photographs of men carrying loads on their heads, pushing and pulling handcarts, straining to pedal their human and inanimate loads. The light was fading as I took the pictures, so they are gritty and grainy, but I think this adds to the… Continue reading Hard Work – a photographic essay