My mum, the pilot

Once upon a time, a little girl was told that women shouldn’t fly airplanes … I grew up knowing ‘mum flew planes’. This was one of a series of simple facts in my childhood: my sister and I were born in London; our parents came from India; dad sang; mum flew. She told us stories…

The sports bar in the heart of Africa

Football (or soccer for followers of this blog across the Pond) often gets in to the press for the wrong reasons. Hooliganism, racism, homophobia, overpaid players and corruption all drag the name of football through mud; but in its purest form, the game played by children in, well, mud, brings people together no matter their…

Electric-green unplugged

Today it’s April the 7th 2018, a day that marks the 24th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide. One million people were killed in a hundred days in one of the darkest, most horrific, most shameful periods in history. This post is part of the series ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’ first…

As Time Goes By …

Giving a training course to a group of nurses in Rwanda gave me a new perspective on the concept of time and the meaning of urgency and importance. This is the next post in the Series, ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’. *** It’s curious that we humans, who are all imperfect, expect perfection with…

English words that only Indians use

Did you know Indians use some English words and phrases you’ll rarely hear anywhere else in the world – in case you’re travelling to India soon, here’s a helpful list of 21 of my favourites: 1)           Doing the needful. In India this means doing is what is necessary e.g. I hope you can do the needful…

Unguarded Moments

The basic facts I knew about Rwanda before I lived there were: it has rare mountain gorillas. Diane Fossey, the renowned zoologist, worked there to research the gorillas. a genocide happened there in 1994. it is a tiny country about the size of Wales in the heart of Africa. It was the genocide that shaped…

Being mindful – bug bites and quiet nights

Most of the nights after work were quiet nights at home and I found my pace shifted down a gear, my tempo slowed and I became more mindful – without the distractions of wi-fi and liberated from a smartphone, my attention sharpened and became undivided. I’d take time to study the red blossom on a…

The Creepy Village of Kuldhara

When a fellow traveller at the hotel in the desert town of Jaisalmer told us there was a haunted village nearby, well, how could we resist? I’ve always wanted to see a ghost on my travels, perhaps late at night somewhere, in a remote mountain cabin, down the wooden panelled hallways of an old mansion, or…

In Search of Silence and the Missing Female to Female Nine Pin

It’s been a few months since I last posted for the series ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’. We are now over halfway through with 21 posts (A list of these are at the bottom of this post – I aim to finish the series by the middle of 2018!). Thanks for your patience with…

Memories of my father

Over half a century ago, a young man, my father Kamal Hazarika, sat at the back of a bus listening to the sound of its engine ticking over. He became inspired with its rhythmic backbeat and the embryo of a song developed in his mind. He composed the tune and penned its lyrics before any…

A Merry Assamese Christmas Day

Prologue: When I was a child in the 80s, families from Assam in north east India who had settled in the UK would meet  to celebrate Christmas Day. This post weaves together a collection of memories of those bygone days of friends, togetherness, laughter and joy . *** It was the warmth at first. Usually on the…