What meaning did Meghan Markle’s white wedding dress really have?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 21, 2018


That Meghan Markle’s elegant wedding dress was white meant really nothing at all. It didn’t really have any particular meaning, considering Ms Markle was previously married and seemed to be living with Harry before their May 19 ceremony in Windsor. It was meant to be virginal. Certainly, it had nothing of the symbolic significance Queen … Continue reading “What meaning did Meghan Markle’s white wedding dress really have?”

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A distinctly European sensibility in a Tunisian troglodyte house

by Rashmee

Posted on May 19, 2018


We walk into the Trait d’Union, Tijma, Matmata in distant south-eastern Tunisia. The Libyan border is about 150 km away. Trait d’Union is a 350-year-old troglodyte house that now takes in paying visitors. Seven generations of one troglodyte family lived there from the early 1600s. In 1967, after the natural disaster that locals call “the … Continue reading “A distinctly European sensibility in a Tunisian troglodyte house”

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Living below ground: Matmata, southern Tunisia

by Rashmee

Posted on May 18, 2018


I sit in a troglodyte structure to write this. It is a dwelling typical of Matmata and because it is 20 feet below ground, there is no connection with the world beyond this part of south-eastern Tunisia. No connection other than the memory of having come through Tamezret and Douz and beyond that, through Kebili … Continue reading “Living below ground: Matmata, southern Tunisia”

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In Old Matmata, Tunisia, they still live below the ground as for centuries

by Rashmee

Posted on May 17, 2018


Off to Matmata, the Berber town in southern Tunisia, where some of the locals still live the way their ancestors did – underground. Until 51 years ago, the troglodyte buildings were basically unknown to the world. No one knew they were there and once they did, the settlement of Matmata was built above-ground. But the … Continue reading “In Old Matmata, Tunisia, they still live below the ground as for centuries”

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Christmas unsettled. A Christmas tagine rather than a Christmas tree!

by Rashmee

Posted on December 25, 2017


This is a very different Christmas for us. The Tunis house is in the process of being packed up and put into boxes large and small for dispatch across the seas. We don’t have a tree, decorations, a big Christmas dinner with family and friends to entertain. In some ways, it’s not much like Christmas … Continue reading “Christmas unsettled. A Christmas tagine rather than a Christmas tree!”

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India’s patchy record on pollution has led the country to crisis

by Rashmee

Posted on December 20, 2017 / The National


Until Monday, when the Gujarat elections results came in, the air over Delhi was thick with speculation. The Indian capital, always a political cauldron, hissed and bubbled. Was Narendra Modi on the point of that ultimate indignity, losing face in his home state? Would Mr Modi’s BJP cede ground after 22 years in its stronghold? … Continue reading “India’s patchy record on pollution has led the country to crisis”

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The grim reality of comparing Tunis, Tunisia with New Delhi, India: quality of life

by Rashmee

Posted on December 18, 2017


We returned to Tunis from Delhi and saw the sky – clear blue, the sunlight shining brightly on the smiling capital of Tunisia, the traffic moving well along on the roads. And we sighed. As an Indian, there is no way to describe the pain of seeing Delhi as it is today. It is a … Continue reading “The grim reality of comparing Tunis, Tunisia with New Delhi, India: quality of life”

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Thank God for those who give thanks. We should be grateful for the reminder

by Rashmee

Posted on November 24, 2017


This Thanksgiving, it is only right to give thanks for those who tell us why we should give thanks. One of those is Yale law professor Stephen Carter, who recently wrote up 13 reasons we should be grateful to be alive in November 2017. These included one well-worn theme – the fall in the number … Continue reading “Thank God for those who give thanks. We should be grateful for the reminder”

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Vikings writing Allah? Read Michael Crichton’s 41-year-old novel ‘Eaters of the Dead’

by Rashmee

Posted on October 14, 2017


Those who wonder about the recent report on “Allah” embroidered onto Viking funeral clothes should read Michael Crichton’s novel ‘Eaters of the Dead’. The book’s title has a strapline ‘The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922 ‘. Later, Crichton’s novel was republished as The 13th Warrior to correspond with the film adaptation. … Continue reading “Vikings writing Allah? Read Michael Crichton’s 41-year-old novel ‘Eaters of the Dead’”

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From dinar store to a real Chinese restaurant, Beijing is in Tunisia, big league

by Rashmee

Posted on September 25, 2017


A couple months ago, I noted the new growth – the visible aspects – of China’s presence in the Tunisian capital. There was, after Ramadan, a new “Asian” restaurant in the big Carrefour in La Soukra. Then there was the One China Market on Route 9. It must, I think be the Tunisian equivalent of … Continue reading “From dinar store to a real Chinese restaurant, Beijing is in Tunisia, big league”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK