august 2012 programmes


monday 6th august
6.30 pm "Who Am I? Autobiography, Memoir & Blog -- and How Women Write Them" a talk by Ritu Menon 


friday 10th august
6.30 pm - a Tabla jugalbandi by Akbar Latif Khan and Babar Latif Khan


saturday 11th august
1-2 pm Food Meditation # 25

 saturday 18th august
6.30 pm Moonweavers – Chaand ke Julaahe 6th Poetry Open Mic  


 monday 20th august
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization


thursday 23rd august
6.30 pm Zubaan Talkies, Take # 6 Myth Breakers


wednesday 29th august
6.30 pm P“Delhi Phoenix City”: Talking about CSH Jhabvala   


monday 6th august
6.30 pm Who Am I? Autobiography, Memoir, Blog -- and How Women Write Them” a talk by Ritu Menon

There is never a singular "I" -- not in real life, not in any of the genres mentioned. We are all multiple "I's", and which "I" we choose to write about depends on a whole lot of factors. Age and stage of life; state of mind -- and body; what one expresses or suppresses; which "I" one re-invents; and so on. We all know that every time we speak about ourselves we speak in different voices.  

As Virgina Woolf said, "Very few women yet have written truthful autobiographies." Or memoirs. Or even blogs. Speaking as a feminist publisher, all three genres hold fascinating possibilities and offer a myriad ways to explore the question: Who Am I? This I will try and do by looking at a few selected works, some very well-known, some less known, to see if I can shed some light both, on  the authors and on how they choose to write -- or represent -- themselves and their lives. 

Ritu Menon is a feminist publisher and writer with a passionate interest in women's writing, in examining both what they write, and the circumstances in which they write and are read. She co-founded Kali for Women, India's first feminist press, in 1984, and in 2003 set up Women Unlimited, an extension of Kali. She herself has written and edited several books -- on Partition; on Muslim women in India; on censorship; on violence; and is currently working on a biography of Nayantara Sahgal. She is an active member of the women's movement in India. 


friday 10th august
6.30 pm - a Tabla jugalbandi by Akbar Latif Khan and Babar Latif Khan    

A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater or by hand or against another similar instrument. Percussion instruments may play not only rhythm, but also melody and harmony. Percussion is commonly referred to as "the backbone" or "the heartbeat" of a musical ensemble.                                          

Tabla is a pair of drums. It consists of of a small right hand drum called dayan and a larger metal one called bayan.

The tabla has an interesting construction. The dayan (right hand drum) is almost always made of wood. The diameter at the membrane may run from just under five inches to over six inches. The bayan (left hand drum) may be made of iron, aluminium, copper, steel, or clay; yet brass with a nickel or chrome plate is the most common material. Undoubtedly the most striking characteristic of the tabla is the large black spot on each of the playing surfaces. These black spots are a mixture of gum, soot, and iron filings. Their function is to create the bell-like timbre that is characteristic of the instrument.

The invention of the tabla is traditionally attributed to the Sufi saint Hazrat Ameer Khusro who was also the founder of the Dilli Gharana. That's how the table has a special status in the Dilli Gharana.

A jugalbandi is a performance in Indian classical music that features a duet of two solo musicians. The duet can be either vocal or instrumental and the musicians may play different instruments, as for example the famous duets between sitarist Ravi Shankar and sarod player Ali Akbar Khan. What defines jugalbandi is that the two soloists be on an equal footing. While any Indian music performance may feature two musicians, a performance can only be deemed a jugalbandi if it is neither clearly the soloist and nor clearly an accompanist. In jugalbandi, both musicians act as lead players, and a playful competition exists between the two performers.

Akbar & Babar Latif Khan are brothers and sons of renowned Tabla Maestro of the Dilli Gharana Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan. After the death of their father they have continued training under many Ustads of the ‘Dilli’ Gharana and both have received scholarships and acclaim from musical and cultural institutions in India. They have participated in many festivals in India and have travelled abroad to participate in various musical events.    


saturday 11th august
1-2 pm Food Meditation # 25


Rajma (Red Beans)
Aloo Palak Bhurji (Potatoes & spinach Mixture)
Brown Rice
Multi Grain Roti
Chaach (Buttermilk)



Participation is by registration on payment only. Call The Attic 23746050 or email:

 Charges:  Rs 150


 saturday 18th august
6.30 pm Moonweavers – Chaand ke Julaahe 6th Poetry Open Mic  

A poem takes off from and reaches those messy recesses of the subconscious that we dare not meddle with in our day to day lives. Whatever it is you do for a living; accounting, door-banging, throat banging or even pen banging for that matter, you always float on the surface. And mere living life prevents you from experiencing the music of chaos within. Poetry lets you refashion that chaos for yourself and perhaps for others.... 


The 6th  Moonweavers Poetry Open Mic at the Attic would begin directly with the open mic. The rules for the open mic are simple. Each participant can read one self-composed poem. The poems could be in English, Hindi or Urdu. (or other language accompanied by a translation) You could read out poetic text, poetic drama, improvise something poetic on the spot, anything as long as it’s poetic in its essence. No standup comedy or long-winding stories please.

If time permits and all participants have had a chance to read, we can do subsequent rounds. Please arrive early and list your name for the readings.




The Foundations of Western Civilization – an education in 24 evenings.  An Attic video presentation from The Great Courses taught by Prof. Thomas Noble, University of Notre Dame.

You can discover the essential nature, evolution, and perceptions of Western civilization from its humble beginnings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt to the dawn of the modern world.

This series of 48 half hour lectures - 2 per evening will be introduced by an eminent professor/personality who will also answer questions. The events and the course are free. The title of each lecture is listed below.


monday 20th august
6.30 pm The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation  

Lecture 11 – “The Birth of History” 

 “History” Voltaire said “was the lies the living told about the dead.” Herodotus, the “father of history” wrote highly entertaining accounts of the Persian wars which he saw as the watershed moment in Greek history. Thucydides wrote of the Peloponnesian wars, the great contest between Athens and Sparta.

Historical writing has been a key feature of Western culture since the Greeks partly to preserve accounts of great deeds. Partly to teach ones own generation lessons. Partly to fashion and shape how later generation will see things. 

Lecture 12 – “From Greek Religion to Socratic Philosophy”

The Greeks invented philosophy as a form of intellectual discipline, with its own rules, with its own system, with its own way of asking and answering questions. Conventionally the history of Greek philosophy begins with Socrates. In this lecture we look at the pre Socratics.

 The quest for wisdom began in Ionia. This was a land open to Persia and through the Persians to Mesopotamian knowledge. Many philosophers posed answers to the question “what is the world made of”. Pythagoras somehow came upon the mathematical relationships between musical intervals.

The Sophists (wandering teachers) turned to the practical matters of ethics and they made the distinction between laws and the natural orders of things.



"Western", "Civilization" and "Foundations"


History Begins at Sumer


Egypt-The Gift of the Nile


The Hebrews-Small States and Big Ideas


A Succession of Empires


Wide-Ruling Agamemnon


Dark Age and Archaic Greece


The Greek Polis-Sparta


The Greek Polis-Athens


Civic Culture-Architecture and Drama


The Birth of History


From Greek Religion to Socratic Philosophy


Plato and Aristotle


The Failure of the Polis and the Rise of Alexander


The Hellenistic World


The Rise of Rome


The Roman Republic-Government and Politics


Roman Imperialism


The Culture of the Roman Republic


Rome-From Republic to Empire


The Pax Romana


Rome's Golden and Silver ages


Jesus and the New Testament


The Emergence of a Christian Church


Late Antiquity-Crisis and Response


Barbarians and Emperors


The Emergence of the Catholic Church


Christian Culture in Late Antiquity


Muhammad and Islam


The Birth of Byzantium


Barbarian Kingdoms in the West


The World of Charlemagne


The Carolingian Renaissance


The Expansion of Europe


The Chivalrous Society


Medieval Political Traditions I


Medieval Political Traditions, II


Scholastic Culture


Vernacular Culture


The Crisis of Renaissance Europe


The Renaissance Problem


Renaissance Portraits


The Northern Renaissance


The Protestant Reformation-Martin Luther


The Protestant Reformation-John Calvin


Catholic Reforms and "Confessionalization"


Exploration and Empire


What Challenges Remain?






thursday 23rd august

6.30 pm Zubaan Talkies, Take # 6 Myth Breakers

For centuries, myths have defined and restricted our conceptions of femininity and even feminism. Virgin Mother. Whore. Sita. Medusa. Draupadi. Radha. Echo. Hera. Aphrodite. Artemis. Penelope.  

Somewhere in the course of history, through oral and written literature, womankind got entangled in these myths. Women writers have intervened at various moments to free some of these characters from the shackles of the myths that surrounded them and tied them down. And of course there are the myths that surround the feminist movement which continue to persist even among the literate. 

We invite writers to perform an original piece of work around the theme of myth breaking, this could involve a brief re-telling of a myth, like Jeanette Winterson’s Weight or a poem that reinvents a myth or any piece of original writing that examines myth from a feminist perspective. Performers will get five minutes to perform their piece.  

The Open Mike evening will be interspersed with readings from selected excerpts of “Breaking the Bow”, Zubaan’s anthology of speculative fiction edited by Vandani Singh and Anil Menon that’s fresh off the press.  

If you think you have a piece of writing linked to the theme or can whip up something, and would like to read your work, send us an email at by Saturday, August 18.  

Last minute entries will be permitted if there’s time.  


wednesday 29th august
6.30 pm “Delhi Phoenix City”: Talking about CSH Jhabvala                

         My Father, The Architect: Renana Jhabvala               

         Jhab, The Professor        : Nalini Thakur

  C.S.H. Jhabvala is a renowned architect and a remarkably gifted artist. His daughter remembers in today’s talk how he first built houses, then built cities and then how he evolved into an artist, and about his life as an artist.  

Nalini Thakur, his former student and now Head of Architectural Conservation in the School of Planning & Architecture talks about “Jhab” as he was known. 

His book Delhi Phoenix City shows his unrivalled knowledge of Delhi’s history, his eye for the city’s quirky corners and its chaos and colour. In his wanderings around Delhi he has stumbled upon obscure streets and squares, overgrown gardens, crumbling bungalows and urban villages, which he has recorded in words, as well as wonderfully evocative pencil sketches.  

C.S.H. Jhabvala was for many decades a highly respected practicing architect in Delhi, and dean of the School of Architecture. Since his retirement, he divides his time between Delhi and New York. Delhi—Phoenix City is a sequel to his acclaimed first book, Delhi-- Stones and Streets (Ravi Dayal Publisher).   

Renana Jhabvala is best known for her long association with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), India which has 1.3 million members and for her writings of issues of women in the informal economy. She was awarded a Padma Shri Award in the year 1990.  

Nalini Thakur is a former student of the undergraduate   programme of SPA, and  Head of Architectural Conservation. She is a fulltime Faculty member for over three decades. Her   experience  in architecture and conservation ranges from activist to professional, academician,  teacher  and  mentor. She has been involved in developing the concept of living architectural heritage, its  protection and management  in India.