july 2010 programmes


saturday 10th july
1pm-3pm Food Meditation # 8

Welcome to the 8th silent lunch in the series called ‘Food Meditation’. Today we concentrate on whole grains. From about the middle of the 19th century the so called ‘modern diet’ has evolved consisting essentially in refining cereal grains to get white flour (maida) which increases its shelf life and robs it of all its nutrients. Grinding grains with steel rollers marked the beginning of the industrialization of our food, making white bread as the first fast food, (the same is true of white rice).    

Grinding with stone wheels removes the bran from the wheat kernel (and therefore the largest portion of the fibre), it cant remove the embryo which contains the volatile oils that are rich in nutrients – protein, folic acid and other B vitamins, carotenes and other antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.    

In today’s ‘wonder bread’ these nutrients are added back chemically and research has shown that those “getting the same amount of nutrients from other sources were not as healthy as the whole grain eaters,” suggesting that “a whole food might be more than the sum of its nutrient parts.” For years now nutritionists have known that a diet high in whole grains reduces one’s risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. (from Michael Pollan “ In Defence of Food” 

This food meditation will bring together the process of mindful eating of hand pounded whole grain, where nothing is removed from the grain - one step healthier than stone grinding.  


  • Hand ground Wheat flour chapattis
  • Hand pounded barnyard Millet
  • Unpolished daal (lentil), cooked in a traditional handi (cooking pot)  over a chulha (stove)
  • Yoghurt with unbleached brown Shakkar (unprocessed cane sugar)

Participation is by registration on payment only. Telephone The Attic 23746050 or email mina@theatticdelhi.org and anaam@aol.in  Charges Students Rs 25. Others Rs 100.
Only 15 participants. No walk-ins please


saturday 10th july
6.30 pm  
a kathak recital by Moumala Nayak 

An excellent blend of sensuous movement and graceful footwork with absolute control on Laya describes the performance of Moumala Nayak, an accomplished artiste of the Lucknow gharana of kathak. She is a disciple of the great kathak Maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj and has been learning dance from the age of 9 from from Shri Nagendra Prasad Mohini. She did her M.A. in Kathak from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad and received advanced training in Delhi under Smt. Vaswati Mishra and later Diploma Honours from National Institute of kathak Dance, New Delhi.  

She has done courses in Hindustani Vocal Classical Music, Tabla, Painting, Russian Language and Reiki. Her poetic and literary work has been published in many magazines and books. She has performed abroad in Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, China, Burma, Malaysia, The US and Canada 

She is an empanelled artist with ICCR. She has been awarded the Dr. S. Radha Krishnan Shikshak Ratan Samman 2005, Kavya Shri 2002 and other awards. She is associated with Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi as Kathak Dance Trainer as well as Examiner. 

This event is co sponsored by India World Cultural Forum (IWCF) set up to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the rich and diverse cultures of various countries. Its vision is to achieve harmony, understanding and friendship between people of different cultures through food, music, theater and dance.


saturday 17th july
6.30 pm “Evening Ragas and Monsoon Dhuns” a sitar recital by Partha Pratim Roy 

                                Rain and the magical season of the monsoon have always been the throbbing heart of Indian life and culture. Whether we are talking about music – classical, folk or devotional – dance, painting, art or sculpture, rains and their incessant music are a recurring theme. Classical music from the time of Tansen to the folk songs welcoming the first thunder showers and streaks of lightning are sung in every village even today.

This evening Partha Roy begins his performance with an evening raga and then explores the vast tradition of Bengali folk dhuns. A dhun is a melody lighter in tone than a raga and often derived from a folk tradition. Being free from the strict discipline of the raga system, it allows liberties with the notes giving more freedom to the musician to improvise.

Amongst others the peacock is a favourite theme. Sauntering in and out of our poetry, literature and music are these beautiful birds, which herald the monsoon with their plaintive and evocative cry. This is a haunting sound that portrays both feelings of sorrow and anguish as well as the joyous advent of the rains. The other themes will include fishermen’s songs, Rabindra Sangeet and the poetry of Kazi Nazrul Islam. 

Partha Pratim Roy, started learning the Art and Musicology of Sitar playing from Prof. Devi Prasad Chatterjee, from the age of five. He then continued his learning with Prof. Nihar Bindu Chowdhury, “Sangrrtacharya”Ajay Sinha Roy and Prof.Anil Palit.  

He has performed at various youth festivals, music conferences and musical soirees in India and has also toured Bangladesh, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Holland for performances and workshops. He has won many awards. He is an empanelled artist with All India Radio and Doordarshan (T.V), The Directorate of Culture, M.P., Information and Cultural Affairs, W.B.

He has composed the musical ballet  “Sakuntala” for Kalidas Festival, M.P. and has performed in TV serials and films


wednesday 21 st july
6.30 pm ‘From the Temples to Shakespeare, Jazz…..’ a lec/dem by Namita Bodaji

Bharatanatyam, the sophisticated classical dance from Tamil Nadu is intimately linked with the Hindu temples of South India. Until the early years of the 20th century, dance was still a vital part of the temple ritual and the dancer and her musicians were held in high esteem and supported from temple funds. The dancer’s position was a cross between the position of a high priestess in a Greek temple and a ‘devadasi’, a servant of God.  

Unfortunately there was a period of decline in which a dancer became a court rather than a temple dancer. Fortunately this period is over and after an intense rediscovery of tradition the dancer is faced with the dilemma that hits all art forms, the challenge of tradition versus modernity. Can a dancer steeped in the 2nd c. B.C dramatic tradition of the Natyashastra, the music of 18th century masters, Sangam Poetry of the 1st century be able to think or dare to do anything ‘modern’? 

But how can she, with an exquisite training in drama, music, poetry, dance, costume and religion not take on the challenge of expressing the range of themes expressed in Shakespeare’s plays, yoga sutras, Marathi natya sangeet, bhajans, jazz and even Bollywood!  

What is the right approach for the dancers and Gurus in that case? What is the right blend of entertainment (desi) and enlightenment (margi) to create something new, maintain the essence of the form and yet sustain the interest of the rasikas or the audience?   

Mumbai-based Bharatanatyam dancer Namita explores this dilemma that Indian classical dancers face these days. She will also talk about the different contemporary themes and music that can be successfully infused by dancers in their choreography.

 Namita has been learning dance from a very young age from  Guru Vasant, Guru Kalaimamani Mahalingam Pillai, Smt Karunambal Pillai and Guru Kalaimamani Kalyansundaram at the  Sri Rajarajeshwari  Bharata Natya Kala Mandir.  She did her Masters in English Literature from Bombay University and obtained Diplomas in "Indian Art Forms" and Yoga Teacher training as well as "Nritya Visharad". She has received the prestigious title of ’Singar Mani’ from the Sur Singar Samsad.

She has conducted workshops on yoga teacher training and Bharatanatyam in India and in the U.S.

 Namita trains seriously inclined students in Bharata Natyam at her institute Samskara Academy for Performing Arts. She has also choreographed some contemporary dance pieces like "Winged Migration", "All the People in the World" and Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man".


thursday 29 july
6.30 pm ‘The Difficulty of Being Good’ a talk by Gurcharan Das

 Why Be Good? What exactly is Dharma? Gurcharan Das’ superb exposition of the central problem of how to live our lives takes him to the dilemmas in the great epic, Mahabharata.   He shows us how we can come to terms with the uncertain ethics of our world today, which is uncannily similar to that of the epic. 

 Gurcharan Das is an author and public intellectual. His international bestseller, India Unbound, is a narrative account of India from Independence to the global information age, and has been published in 17 languages and filmed by BBC. His other literary works include a novel, A Fine Family, a book of essays, The Elephant Paradigm, and an anthology, Three English Plays. He has now written The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma which interrogates the epic, Mahabharata, in order to answer the question, ‘why be good?’ He writes a regular column on Sundays for six Indian newspapers and periodic guest columns for the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and Newsweek.