november 2010 programmes


tuesday 2nd  november
6.30 pm
“ETERNITY” a Performance by   Dipanker Roy Choudhury
on The Indian Slide Guitar” accompanied by Debashish Adhikari on Tabla

friday 12th november
6.30 pm “Vaishnavatar” – Krishna stories and a tale of Rama” a Bharatanatyam performance by Aranyani Bhargav

 saturday 13 november
6.30 pm Indian classical music Raag Jaijaiwanti – a Sarod performance Arnab Bhattacharya 
saturday 13th  november

1 to 3 pm Food Meditation # 11

friday 19th november
6.30 pm ‘The Rediscovery of Peru” travel, food and adventure an illustrated talk and food demonstration by an Indian Indian Zorawar Shukla  

monday 22nd november
6.30 pm “Architectural Blue Cyanotypes of India and Germany” an illustrated talk by Robert A. Schaefar

tuesday 23rd november
1 to 3 pm Forgotten Foods – an experiment in eating 

friday 26th november
6.30 pm "Relevance of Tibetan Buddhism in Modern World”
by His Eminenence Tsona Gontse Rinpoche

sunday 28th to tuesday 30th november
Science and Arts – a Synergy Symposium organized by Chintan International Trust & Dr Satyendra Singh

monday 29th november
6.30 pm "Daughter of the Mountains" A BBC documentary part I (following the river from her various sources to Haridwar) 
made & introduced by Toby Sinclair



tuesday 2nd  november
6.30 pm
“ETERNITY” a Performance by   Dipanker Roy Choudhury
on The Indian Slide Guitar” accompanied by Debashish Adhikari on Tabla

India’s rich and vibrant musical tradition seems to have experienced no inferiority complex in adapting Western musical instruments into both Hindustani and Carnatic classical music.   The violin may have been introduced to India around 1790 by Irish military bandsmen in the East India Company and was adapted by Baluswami Dikshitar for use in Carnatic music. Portuguese Christian missionaries also taught the violin to converts for use in church services and it soon found its way into Hindustani classical music with Pandit V.C. Jog one of its earliest exponents. The violin is now an important element of the ‘Dilli gharana’ of music. 

Similarly Indian music lends itself well to the fluid sound of the steel guitar. The Hawaiian guitar was used in films during the 1940s and 1950s to indicate pathos in background music. The first Indian artist to use a steel guitar within classical Indian music was Brij Bhushan Kabra who modified an arch top guitar, raising the guitar nut, and including "sympathetic" (drone) strings which are tuned to the raga being performed. He was followed by his student Debashish Bhattacharya using the Indian slide guitar.  

 The playing of Indian classical music on the Flamenco classical guitar has led to a very interesting fusion of Flamenco and Indian classical musical style ‘Indialucia’ 

The name U. Srinivas is synonymous with the fretless electric mandolin, as is that of Kadri Gopalnath playing the Saxophone.He has “perfected something that jazz saxophonists have been attempting for decades: moving beyond the Western chromatic scale into the realm of microtones, a feat harder for wind instruments, whose keys  are in fixed positions, than for strings or voice.”

One of the most assimilated Western instruments in India was the clarinet.It was adopted by Shehnai players and gradually assimilated into folk, theatre and Hindustani Classical music where the name of Master Ebrahim (1915-!980) is well known because he broadcast regularly for All India Radio.In Carnatic music the clarinet was a regular instrument in Bharatanatyam recitals from the time of Sarabhoji Maharaja in Thanjavur and has only recently declined in popularity. 

The harmonium was invented in France in the 1840s and found an immediate use in the colonies by missionaries because it was portable, reliable and easy to learn. The French hand pumped version was particularly suitable as Indian music can be played on keyboard instruments using one hand leaving the other to operate the bellows. It was adapted to Indian music by adding drone stops and a mechanism for changing the scale. It became an integral part of Sikh Kirtans, Hindu Bhajans and Muslim Qawwalis as well as Parsi and Marathi stage music but was banned on All India Radio from 1940 to 1971 as an unwelcome foreigner.

Dipanker describes his instrument as being “under a string pull tension of over 500 pounds, resulting in an incredible vibration of the sympathetic strings, strengthening each note and giving volume and intensity to the music 

Dipanker Roy Choudhury is a dynamic Indian classical guitarist and singer of the younger generation.  The influence of "Imdad Khani Gharana”, his father, Shri.Pramod Shankar Roy Choudhury and his Gurus Shri Chand Mukharjee & Late Pandit Rajesh Moitra  has enriched his style. He is also a disciple of sitar maestro Ustaad Shujaat Hussain Khan and has participated in many shows with him. He has received several awards from Sahitya Kala Parishad and the Ministry of Culture and has travelled worldwide and performed in many prestigious stages including The World Food Festival in Vietnam, Red Square Moscow as well as full length tours of Saudi Arabia and South Africa  He is the lead Guitarist and Vocalist of the band “Impulse”.

friday 12th november

6.30 pm “Vaishnavatar” – Krishna stories and a tale of Rama” a Bharatanatyam performance by Aranyani Bhargav 

The Avatar concept is a cornerstone in Hindu philosophy. An avatar is a direct incarnation of God. It is believed that when things are not going well for the world, especially for India (as is often the case) Vishnu reincarnates in animal or human form to set things right. Indian classical dance forms depict these avatars in beautiful music and movement imagery.

Aranyani’s performance explores the ways in which Krishna and Rama relate to the human world. For a while now, Aranyani has been exploring the relevance of Bharatanatyam beyond the religious narrative, and one that is inclusive of secular audiences. Aranyani’s claim has always been that she does not merely relate stories of gods, but describes and explores the human emotions that underpin the myths. Most human emotions are universally relevant. They transcend race, gender, class, religion and nationality. In this respect, Aranyani explores stories about Krishna and one tale about Rama in terms of the vast depths of human emotions they are able to describe through mythology. The pieces chosen in this performance display varied emotions from the mischief of a little child, to the worries of a father, the demands of a teacher, the stubbornness of an adolescent girl, the feelings of suspicion and fear, the sting of regret, and the meditative potential of initial pangs of love. 

Some of the pieces in this performance have been taught to her, but Aranyani has developed them further. Aranyani has also attempted to choreograph her first Tillana in this performance. 

Aranyani Bhargav is an empanelled dancer with the ICCR. She has received training in Ballet and Contemporary dance in the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, completed a Diploma in Movement Arts and Mixed Media from Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore (which includes training in Kalaripayettu, a traditional martial arts form from Kerala). She has worked with Sadanand Menon to help set up the archive for the works of Chandralekha, the legendary Indian ‘contemporary’ dancer. 

She performed ‘Shyamasundara: the beautiful, dark one’ at the Nehru Centre, London. She also portrayed Mary Magdalene through Bharatanatyam and Contemporary dance in a Gati Summer Dance Residency. She has performed at many interesting venues around the world such as Berlin, New York, Washington, London, Jerusalem, Honolulu, Istanbul and Paris. Some excellent reviews describe her -  “Watching Aranyani’s Bharatanatyam is like being in a Hindu temple and suddenly seeing one of the sculptures come exquisitely to life.  You are carried back through the centuries and into the great Indian epic tales. Magical.” – (Andrew Graham, Master of Balliol College, Oxford)



saturday 13th  november
1 to 3 pm Food Meditation # 11 

It is exactly 1 year ago that Anaam and The Attic started the monthly series of Meditative Eating. The reintroduction of this ancient Indian practice is just gathering momentum and we wish to introduce you this time to the Slow Food Movement which began in Italy in the late 80’s. The ideas are similar to some of the practices recommended in the Upanishads 3000 years ago and still followed in the villages of the Garhwal Himalaya from where this afternoon’s lunch is sourced.  

The Slow Food Movement believes in using heirloom varities of seeds.  

It believes in preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation.  

It believes in preserving traditional and local eco systems and growing crops and vegetables without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.  

The village from where we buy our products has been practicing this philosophy for thousands of years.  

The Slow Food Movement has expanded globally to over 100,000 members in 132 countries. It believes in local culinary traditions, family farms, organic farming and educating consumers about the risks of monoculture and the risks of fast food. 

This Attic event aims to do just that following not the slow food movement but ancient Indian practices of eating silently and concentrating on the food. This afternoon’s lunch emphasises the use of pure haldi and a hill grown seasoning ‘jakhia’. 

 1. Chaulai (Amaranth) Roti
(for descriptions see
 2. Naurangi (Rice bean/ Cow Pea) daal                  ”
Jhangora (Barnyard Millet) Pulao                             “ 
Alloo (Potato) jakhia
 5. Raita


Jakhia is a seasoning used in small villages in the hills to flavour potatoes and seasonal vegetables. It’s city counterparts are cumin and mustard seeds. They are crispy and crackle and splutter when heated in oil. Jakhia is both a herb and a spice. Its chief medicinal value is in being lethal for stomach worms as well as in healing wounds. 



Haldi (turmeric) is the basic spice used in almost all Indian cooking. This is what gives the typical flavour and smell (not appreciated in the west) to Indian cuisine. It is antiseptic, disinfectant and according to Ayurveda an all-purpose cleanser. Scientists now tell us that curcumin (the essential ingredient of turmeric) is anti-inflammatory, in that it can reduce soreness and fever, much like tylenol or paracetamol. And it acts like those latest anti-inflammatory drugs called cox-2 inhibitors: Celecoxib and Vioxx. (now withdrawn by the FDA for safety reasons.)

The purity of haldi is always suspect as it is easy to mix colour to make it yellower or other cheaper ingredients to bulk it. Today’s food is made with pure home grown, home ground haldi. 

Anam leads the food meditation session. He is a disciple of Osho and a founder member of the Gurdjieff Foundation of India. He has led 4 successful sessions earlier at The Attic and has organized this special event for The International Festival of Sacred Arts which is taking place during the months of February and March 2010. He is also organizing the Lunches for this festival at the IGNCA from 5th to 9th March.

 Participation is by registration on payment only. Telephone The Attic 23746050 or email, Charges:  Rs 100.

saturday 13 november
6.30 pm Indian classical music Raag Jaijaiwanti – a Sarod performance Arnab Bhattacharya

 Raag Jaijaiwanti is an ancient, late night raga. It has had other names ascribed to it in the past (Jayawanti and Nishi Jaijaiwanti).The parent scale or that of Jaijaiwanti is Khamaj. All the seven notes are used, with an emphasis on Rishabh and Pancham. The melody blossoms particularly in the lower register, but all three octaves are touched upon with equal attention during the raga elaboration. In Jaijaiwanti there is an amalgam of other ragas such as Bilawal, Desh, Gaud, and Bageshwari, among others.

Of the nine rasas (moods), Jaijaiwanti predominantly evokes shringaar or romance. 

This raag was used by Guru Tegh Bahadur to compose 4 hymns which are included in the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of the Sikhs). 

Arnab received his musical training from Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta   and learnt the rich repertoire of Senia Sahajahanpur Gharana . Arnab is now under the guidance of Pandit Debu Chowdhury. 

He has received awards in many talent search concerts in India and has performed for Salt Lake Cultural Association, Bhowanipur Sammilanee-- Kolkata, Ramkirishna Mission Bangalore and Bhubaneswar Rajya Sangeet Academy.  


friday 19th november
6.30 pm ‘The Rediscovery of Peru” travel, food and adventure an illustrated talk and food demonstration by an Indian Indian Zorawar Shukla  

 The Andes are a rough, rugged range of mountains that run down the entire western coast of South America for 7000 km along the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea in the North to Drake Passage in the South. The high plateaus in this range are home to some major cities - Quito, Bogotá, Santiago de Chile, Medellín and La Paz.  One can literally spend months exploring these beautiful mountains. 

I will retrace the three and half weeks I spent traversing the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes, backpacking from Cuzco to Arequipa to Lake Titicaca and then eventually La Paz. The Andean way of life is unique; the food, dress, customs, languages and mysticism the mountains exude are unique to this region of the world and are any travellers delight to discover. 

I will demonstrate how to make Peru’s national cocktail The Pisco Sour.  Pisco, a Peruvian un-aged grape brandy, is combined with lime juice, sugar, bitters and egg whites to produce a refreshing take on a classic Sour. As well as Papa a la Huancaina  - a Peruvian salad/ snack of boiled yellow potatoes in a spicy, creamy sauce. It is served cold over a lettuce leaf and garnished with black olives, boiled egg and corn kernels. 

Peru is truly a foodie’s delight. The comida criolla or creole cuisine that illuminates menus across the country is a creative blend of indigenous ingredients with flavours brought by immigrants from Africa, China, Japan, Italy and Spain. The country’s cuisine is as diverse as its regions; the Amazon, the Andes and the long stretch of Pacific coastline each offering distinct delicacies. The superb quality of the fruits and vegetables in Peru is a testament to the age old tradition of cultivation implemented for thousands of years in the region. 

Zorawar was born in Delhi, brought up in Hong Kong and Singapore and educated in Boston. He is a keen backpacker, hiker and scuba diver. While not following his sense of adventure, he is often spotted performing Reggae music at venues across Delhi and trying to avoid getting injured on the football field!


monday 22nd november
6.30 pm “Architectural Blue Cyanotypes of India and Germany” an illustrated talk by Robert A. Schaefar

Photographer Robert A. Schaefer, Jr. will speak about his imagery - along with a selection of slide images - and how his studies of architecture have influenced it along with his printing method of choice “ cyanotype (invented in the 19th Century; it results in a monochromatic Prussian blue print). This blue adds a specific dimension to Schaefer's photography and its lightly surreal quality. 

Schaefer teaches cyanotype printing at the Center for Alternative Photography in New York City and other photography courses at New York University.  A photographer for over thirty years, his work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Stadtmusuem in Munich, Germany and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, France. 

In November 2009, he traveled to India for the first time at the suggestion of his friend and curator Elizabeth Rogers. As a former student of Architecture, Schaefer wanted to photograph the government buildings designed by the French architect Le Corbusier in Chandigarh, and historical sites as well as the Parliament Library in Delhi. 

He will also be exhibiting his works in Chandigarh and Delhi sponsored by the Goethe-Institiut.


tuesday 23rd november
1 to 3 pm
Forgotten Foods – an experiment in eating 

Tuesday Lunches at The Attic – a 2 month experiment in meditative eating 

Anaam and The Attic continue the Tuesday lunches of Forgotten Foods, this time with a difference. For the next few meals we will explore the traditional foods of different regions. In November before the mustard fields ripen to a golden yellow, the tender young leaves are plucked to make this absolutely delicious spinach (combined with bathua (Pigweed) and eaten traditionally with a corn roti. 

We will also taste another traditional food of the Punjab and many other regions of India - Kadhi Chawal. Kadhi is made by combining ‘besan’ (gram flour) with soured yoghurt and cooking with various spices for a long time. 

Makki ki roti (Corn roti)
Sarson ka saag (Mustard spinach)
Kadhi/ Chawal
Kada-prasad (sacred sweet)
Lassi (Buttermilk) 

India does not rank very high in the list of countries with healthy food habits. Except maybe Punjab with its traditional peasant meal of ‘sarson da saag’ and ‘makki di roti’ washed down with a glass of sweet or salted lassi. The accompanying imagery of ripening yellow mustard fields and the earthy Punjabi song and dance completes this idyllic picture. Unfortunately some spoilsport German scientists discovered (1937) that the iron content claimed for spinach (by another scientist in 1870) was wrong by 90%. Popeye went into hiding amid claims that he was on steroids all along!!! Later it was also discovered that the absorption of iron from spinach was only about 3% making spinach not a great source of iron or even calcium. Nevertheless the myth persists and we hope to enjoy this dish along with another great  Punjabi Sikh tradition – humour the ability of Punjabis especially Sikhs to make fun of themselves. Below is one of thousands of  Santa/Banta Singh jokes.


Banta met Woman of his Dreams
Banta called his friend, Santa, and told him that He recently met the woman of his dreams. Now what should he do? 

Santa said, "Send her some flowers, and on the card invite her for a home-cooked meal." 

Banta liked the idea, so he invited the woman. 

The day after the meal Santa calls Banta and asks about the meal. 

Banta, "It was a flop idea." 

Santa, "Didn't the girl come to your house?" 

Banta, "She did, but she refused to cook!"


  Reservations are possible on advance payment but not necessary. We can seat only 25 people at a time. Seating will be on cushions on the ground and silence will be encouraged.  

Charges Rs 300/- per person. Telephone Mina Vahie 23746050 or email,


friday 26th november
6.30 pm "Relevance of Tibetan Buddhism in Modern World”
by His Eminenence Tsona Gontse Rinpoche

There are 4 main traditions in Tibetan Buddhism – Nyingma, Kagyu, Gelug, and Sakya. They follow to various degrees the main teachings  of the Buddha which have been categorized as Mahayana, Hinayana, Vajrayana and Dzogchen. The body of teachings referred to as Tibetan Buddhism is characteristic of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh, Lahaul , Spiti and Arunachal Pradesh besides Mongolia, Northeast China and Russian Central Asia with a following of between 10 and 20 million people. 

Dzogchen is the natural, primordial state of the mind and the body of teachings and meditation practices aimed at realizing that condition.

Mahayana refers to the path of seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings ( Bodhisattvayana).

Vajrayana uses Tantric scriptures and rituals as a substitute for abstract meditations. 

The Mahāyāna goal of spiritual development is to achieve the enlightenment of Buddhahood in order to most efficiently help all other sentient beings attain this state.

 Bodhisattvas are revered beings who have conceived the will and vow to dedicate their lives with bodhicitta for the sake of all beings. Their ability to help others are limited as sentient beings continue to experience suffering as a result of the limitations of their own former negative actions. 

An emphasis on oral transmission as more important than the printed word derives from the earliest period of Indian Buddhism. Hearing a teaching (transmission) readies the hearer for realisation based on it. The hearing constitutes an authentic lineage of transmission. Authenticity of the oral lineage is a prerequisite for realisation, hence the importance of lineages.  

The modern world is philosophically full of doubt, angst and rootlessness. His Eminence will talk about focus, centredness, awareness and the spiritual practices of Buddhism that can help us.   

His Eminence the 13th Tsona Rinpoche was born in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.  He was recognized as a reincarnation of Lama Thupten Jampel Wangchuk by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama. He started his education at Drepung Loseling Monastery, South India and is well versed in all the treatises. He also obtained the degree of Geshe Lharampa. (Master of Buddhist Philosophy)

  He became the President of the Cultural and Buddhist Association of Himalaya and worked towards the ecological, cultural and religious development of the area especially the Mon region of Arunachal by establishing numerous monasteries, educational centers, stupas and art & cultural organizations. He has got several national and   international awards for his social work. He is a fully accomplished spiritual master.

     He had the privilege of attending the millennium UN world peace summit at the United Nations’ Assembly Hall as the first ever Buddhist representative from the entire Himalayan region. His Eminence's latest initiative towards spreading of Buddha Dharma is the launching of “Noble Wisdom” a daily 20 minute Buddhist TV Program on Sadhna Channel. 

sunday 28th to tuesday 30th november
Science and Arts – a Synergy Symposium organized by Chintan International Trust & Dr Satyendra Singh

28th Nov: Health in the Himalaya

2.00 – 5.00 Talks and Discussions on rural health
Focus on mobile health and disaster medicine

5.30 – 7.30 Changing role of Films in Community & Social Health

29th Nov: Environmental Health

2.00 – 5.00 Talks and Discussions on animal and plant health
Focus on environmental health and plastic waste

5.30 – 7.30 Role of film in Conservation
6.30 pm "Daughter of the Mountains" A BBC documentary (see details below)
made & introduced by Toby Sinclair

30th Nov: Synergies in Health and Development

9.50 Introduction to the symposium

10.00 ‘Karmanyevadhikareste’: film on Dr C M Singh
‘father of modern veterinary science in India’

10.30 Dharma and Development: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Thoughts
Talk and questions

11.30 Science, Spirituality and Development in Modern India
Talk and questions

12.00 Energy and Synergy for Change
Panel Discussion.
Respect for the past, Work for today, Plan for the future

1.00 pm lunch break

2-3 pm Poetry, Literature and Society
Talk and discussion

3-4 pm Arts, Science and Philosophy
Talk and discussion

4-5 pm Synergy in Health and Development
Panel Discussion
Synergy with media, publishing and film

5-6 pm Tea and Chintan Meeting

monday 29th november
6.30 pm "Daughter of the Mountains" A BBC documentary part
I (following the river from her various sources to Haridwar) 
made & introduced by Toby Sinclair 

The Ganges River (Ganga Ma or Great Mother) is the holiest river in the world. Rising from the pure glacial meltwaters of the Himalaya, it flows down onto India's Northern Plain, then heads eastwards into the  great delta and mangrove forest in the Sundarbans on the West Bengal/Bangladesh border, before finally discharging a 500-km (310-mile) tongue of red silt into the Bay of Bengal. As well as filling wells and irrigating crops to sustain the cities and villages along its banks, it is the spiritual life-blood for India's primary religion, Hinduism. Bathing in the Ganges remains the lifelong ambition of many, who consider the river to be a living goddess. People gather daily at her banks to murmur prayers, baptise children, wash vibrant coloured saris, drink her waters or simply die believing such acts help absolve sins and breaks the endless cycle of life and death.

Ganges reveals the source of the river high in the Himalaya, the youngest mountain range in the world, and follows its route as it sharply incises the mountains on its journey south-east. Along the way we discover the Hindu story of the river's creation, and how it supports the myriad forms of life that thrive on its banks. Ganges is a true visual feast, as teeming with life and colour as the mighty river itself.

The three programmes follow the three stages of the river's development. The youthful, mature, and senile stages. From the source in the Himalaya to the delta in the Bay of Bengal. All episodes look at the human interaction with the river. Its the BBC at its best.


Prog 1. Daughter of the Mountains follows the river from her various sources to Haridwar

Prog 2. River of Life follows the Ganga as she travels across the great plains of northern India

Prog 3. Waterlands follows the river as she  enters the great delta. 

Tony Sinclair born in London, educated in England, has lived in India since 1977. Since 1995 he has been involved in the production of wildlife documentaries in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Over the last few years he has also helped, consulted, and handled logistics for films companies as diverse as BBC, Discovery, National Geographic, PBS, Channel Plus (France), Marathon (France), SVT Sweden, OFT (Austria) Eco-Films (Austria), Inter-spot (Austria), Natural History New Zealand, NHK (Japan), Channel Nine (Australia) among others.  

He has been Guest Lecturer or Trip Manager for programs in India and Sri Lanka operated on behalf of The Asia Society, Massachusetts Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Woodland Park Zoo, National Wildlife Fund, Rare Earth Explorations, Natural Habitat Adventures etc. Since 2006 he has been a Director Special Projects of India Safaris & Tours, a leading Tour Operator specializing in Natural History, Art and Architecture, Cultural, and Academic tours throughout the Indian subcontinent. Between 1980-81, he was consultant in establishing the Bandhavgarh Jungle Camp, Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh, and numerous other projects. 

He is currently a Trustee of Global Tiger Patrol, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Ranthambhore Foundation. He is also an advisor to Saving Wild Tigers, a New York based NGO. He is Vice President of The Eco-Tourism Society of India. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, London. He has been a member of the Advisory Committee of The Bombay Natural History Society, and the Govt. of India Steering Committee (Ministry of Environment & Forests) on Protected Area Management and World Heritage Sites. In 2007 he received the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award.