november 2011 programmes 


saturday 5th november
1 to 2 pm Food Meditation # 18

wednesday 9th november
6.30 pm ‘Moonweavers –
चांद के जुलाहे ‘organizes an open mic poetry session  

saturday 12 november

6.30 pm “SAKURA: An ode to nature and the sense of Japan” an Odissi performance by Masako Ono and sitar recital by Kengo Saito 

sunday 13th november
7 pm at Gulmohar Hall, The Habitat Centre
“Opera for Dummies” a talk by Soprano Francesca Patanè and in conversation with  Dr. Jayati Ghosh 

tuesday 15 november
6.30 pm 'Microwave Radiation – How harmful is it?’ A talk and demonstration by Ajay Poddar

 monday 21 november
6.30 pm classical Hindustani music- a vocal recital by
Dr.Vikas Kashalkar   

tuesday 22nd november
6.30 pm LADY SWETTENHAM – A solo theatre performance by Sabera Shaik




saturday 5th november
1 to 2 pm Food Meditation # 18

  In the almost 2 years since we started the Food Meditation series we have never either mentioned or discussed being vegetarian. It is taken for granted. Yet even though India along with Greece was the originator of a vegetarian diet it was not universally a vegetarian country. From the historical facts of ancient Hindus (including Brahmins)  eating beef “Buddhists eating  pig, rhinoceros, cow, buffalo, fish, snake, birds, including crows and peacocks” and Jains not  minding a chicken or two provided they did not have to kill it. Only camel and dog meat was taboo in India." 

Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons: ethical, health, religious, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic.  There are many varities of  vegetarians:  ovo-vegetarian eggs but not dairy products,  lacto-vegetarian dairy products but not eggs, A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs, dairy, and honey, pescetarians fish but no meat.


George Bernard Shaw’s definition of vegetarianism is the most picturesque ‘Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends’, but Oscar Wilde was wittier ‘I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian’

The food will be eaten in silence. The menu will be similar to earlier events, simple, wholesome, nutritious. Controversies about Ancient India to be minimized. 

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

Organized by Anaam, food cooked by Sangita.

Charges:  Rs 125. 

wednesday 9th november
6.30 pm ‘Moonweavers –
चांद के जुलाहे ‘ organizes an open mic poetry session

The moon for us is symptomatic of everything that is vital, fiery, sensitive and imaginative. It dances on the borders of the rational and irrational, the fine and coarse, the chiseled and not so chiseled. Our poems come straight out of the moon’s jacket! That’s why we are the Moonweavers. 

We are a new group, started out in November 2010.  We have been having regular weekly sessions at The India Coffee House, CP. These sessions are not performative in nature. The focus is rather on brainstorming and honing our own poetry writing skills. Basically, we read our works, offer each other a critique and have engaging discussions on everything poetic.  

This will be our first performative event. In this session, we would like to have poets from the group and anyone else who wants to read and discuss their work. The poems need to be your own work, in any genre, of any length in any language.   

At the end of the session we expect to have a freewheeling discussion on poetry and poets. This is an open mic so if you have a poem to read out and can read reasonably well, you are invited! 

Rati Agnihotri, Rajesh Sharma, Paulomi Sengupta, Anuraag Dixit, Vikrant Dutta, Ashutosh, Harsh, Elsa Matthews, Nazar Khan, Sumit Saxena


saturday 12 november
6.30 pm “SAKURA: An ode to nature and the sense of Japan” an Odissi performance by Masako Ono and sitar recital by Kengo Saito


Sakura is the flower of the Japanese cherry. "Hanami" is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming sakura tree.  Hanami festivals celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom and for many are a chance to visit parks, shrines, to relax, hold flower-viewing parties and enjoy the beautiful view. This is the sense of Japan and when one wants to express oneself  directly about who you are it will  come out naturally as the nectar of a matured fruit of experience and life.  

Masako Ono is a Japanese dancer deeply anchored in the tradition of Odissi Dance. She has chosen this medium as the basis of her career and her self expression as a dancer. What emerges is the fragility of the cherry blossom, profound grace and subtlety combined with the rythym and lyrical beauty of movement of the dance form.     

She meets Kengo Saito, another Japanese artist both a Sitarist and a well known Rabab player who works with different traditions in cross cultural projects performing for UNESCO.  

Both Japanese artistes come together in a common expression to show the inner soul of their country in an ode to nature and the sense of Japan. They show in this performance a contemporary form of expression influenced by their origin and by what they have learned in their research and experience in India and elsewhere.

The result is promises to be exciting, touching and beautiful.  

Kengo was born in Tokyo and is a resident in Paris.  He trained initially on the guitar and violin in the US and in France. He discovered North Indian Classical Music and learnt the Tabla and the Sitar in India and later the sitar as a disciple of Pandit Kushal Das to whom he owes his technical skills and aesthetic approach.  

Kengo is also a distinguished Rabab player, not only in the traditional Afghan repertoire transmitted by Daud Sadozai, but also in other oriental styles. In his own compositions he has presented a unique fusion of Afghan and Japanese melodies.  His music is influenced by India, Iran, Afghanistan and Japan. He has performed in the major venues and festivals in France and collaborated with major musicians and groups from India, Australia and Japan.

Masako learnt Odissi in Nrityagram from Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy where she also attended classes and workshops in Yoga, Kalaripayattu, Mayurbhanj Chhau as well as  Wolfgang Theatre and Paul Taylor 2. Company. She has been living in Orissa where she received further training from Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena and Guru Naba Kishore Mishra. 




sunday 13th november
7 pm at Gulmohar Hall, The Habitat Centre
“Opera for Dummies” a talk by Soprano Francesca Patanè and in conversation with  Dr. Jayati Ghosh

 Opera as an art form originated in Italy when a group of nobles, intellectuals and artists came together in Florence at the end of the 16th century fired by the desire to revive Greek drama.

The earliest operas were thus naturally in Italian and used classical themes from Greek and Roman mythology and history for their plots.

During the course of the 17th century opera travelled from Italy to France and England where it developed its own musical tradition. The 18th and 19th centuries saw the expansion of opera throughout Europe to almost all countries. The result was the coming up of national operatic traditions with opera being composed and performed in several European languages, French and German in the main. But Italian opera remained the bedrock of this genre and with composers like Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini dominated the operatic scene right up to the beginning of the 20th century.

The composer of the opera which we are going to talk about, Cavalleria Rusticana, was Pietro MASCAGNI who carried the torch of Italian opera right into the middle of the 20th century.

The heroine of this opera, Santuzza, is being sung by the world famous soprano, Francesca Patané. She comes from a family of distinguished musicians, her father being the eminent conductor, Giuseppe Patané.

Francesca excels in portraying demanding dramatic characters like Turandot (over 300 performances), Lady Macbeth (over 150 performances), Salome, Tosca and many others in verismo operas of Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Cilea and Alfano.

As a prelude to her performance at Siri Fort Auditorium on November 15, 2011, Francesca Patané explains the fundamentals of understanding Italian opera, as well as giving an insight into the story of the opera.

Opera in India is still not widely heard or seen. There are opera aficionados in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. In Delhi Dr. R.P.Jain has organized regular showings of opera on DVD in various fora. The Neemrana Music Foundation started by Francis Wacziarg has performed live operas since 2003 to sold out houses.

Dr. Jayati Ghosh is Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU New Delhi.

Her recent books are “Work and well being in the age of finance”, “The market that failed: Neoliberal economic reforms in India”, “Tracking the macroeconomy”, “Never done and poorly paid: Women’s work in globalising India. She was also the principal author of the West Bengal Human Development Report 2004 which received the 2005 UNDP Award for excellence in analysis. She is a columnist for Frontline, Businessline, Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle and Ganashakti. She is currently a member of the National Knowledge Commission reporting to the Prime Minister.
She studied the piano with Hosie Palamkote and the Delhi School of Music for many years and maintains an active interest in western classical music, having been music critic for several newspapers. She is Vice President of the Delhi Music Society and also delivers occasional lectures on music.


Today’s talk is organized by The Attic and The Habitat Centre in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in New Delhi as a prelude to the performance of the Opera at Siri Fort Auditorium on 15th November as closing gala of Delhi International Arts Festival


tuesday 15 november
6.30 pm 'Microwave Radiation- How harmful is it?' a talk and demonstration by Ajay Poddar

“We’re all participating in a giant experiment in involuntary epidemiology — irradiated by cell phones and towers, cordless phones, satellites, broadcast antennas, military and aviation radar, TVs, computers, wireless internet, wireless LANs in schools and the workplace” (Arthur Firstenberg, author of Microwaving Our Plane) We are also surrounded by Natural Geopathic Stresses, and  radiation from building materials eg. Granite.

How does this microwave radiation affect our health and wellbeing?  Cancer takes a long time to develop. Typically, other problems show up first: neurological, reproductive, and cardiac. Problems with severe headaches, sleep disturbances, memory loss, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and infertility show up long before cancer. When cancer does appear, it’s typically brain tumors, leukemia, and lymphoma.

Ajay Poddar, via a demo presentation with scientific instruments will take you through the effects of all these and how to deal with them. We will also share feedback received from people. Ajay Poddar is the Managing Director of Syenergy Environics Ltd. an organization which creates healthy and productive spaces by correcting negative radiations in a built environment. He is also Chairman of the Society for Integrated Development of the Himalayas (SIDH), an N.G.O involved with primary education, vocation training and research. He has given talks in national and international forums, on management practices & Environics. His book ‘Empower yourself-new life solutions for Health and Well Being” was published by Penguin in 2007. 

For more information on the practice of Environics which analyses and detects existing harmful radiation in a built environment see and

monday 21 november

6.30 pm classical Hindustani music- a vocal recital by Dr.Vikas Kashalkar  

An accomplished vocalist of the Gwalior Gharana, Dr. Vikas N. Kashalkar recived his basic training from his father Advocate N. D. Kashalkar who was himself a renowned musicologist and writer. He received his advanced training in music from Pandit Gajananrao Joshi, a stalwart of the Gwalior, Jaipur & Agra Gharana and a violin virtuoso. His singing reflects all the brilliant facets of systematic training,  'Talim ka Gana'  and  is deeply rooted in tradition. His Tana patterns incorporate the ‘behlaos’ peculiar to the Jaipur style. He has a large repertoire of uncommon and mixed ragas.                                                 

He has performed  in various cities all over India and abroad. He is a regular All India Radio and Doordashan artist. He is actively engaged in music direction including the music for two ballets – on  Bhagwan Mahavir and on Bhagwan Neminath and  has written a number of articles on music. He lectures regularly in the Lalit Kala Kendra, University of Poona and has participated in various seminars and workshops on music all over India.

Dr.Kashalkar is a member of the Research and Recognition Committee at the University of Pune and Goa. He is also a member of the syllabus framing committee of the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai.                                                                                                                         


tuesday 22nd november
6.30 pm LADY SWETTENHAM – A solo theatre performance by Sabera Shaik

‘Lady Swettenham’ is a play about the life of the manic depressive wife of one of the British residents of Malaya, Sir Frank Swettenham. Set in the 1880s till 1938, the 55 minute play traces the life of the couple as they travel through Malaya and Singapore. The old days of the Raj comes to life as Sydney Swettenham relives the club scenes in Singapore and the cricket matches her husband played.

Sir Frank was given to sending his wife to asylums in England whenever she suffered from her manic depression. During one such occasion in  a prolonged incarceration Sydney discovers while reading the newspapers that she had been divorced. She was 78.

Sydney Swettenham was very well liked and is known for the 'theatricals' she produced in Selangor and Perak (both states in Malaya/Malaysia). She is also known as the architect of the Teluk Intan Lake Gardens which is still enjoyed by the locals as a picnic and jogging spot. In this solo performance she pours vitriol on her husband's reputation and reveals a some salacious facts about the man. 

SSabera Shaik is a well-known Malaysian Theatre figure who has acted in diverse roles in the performing arts in Malaysia, Singapore, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and Bali. She has emerged, arguably, as Malaysia’s First Lady of Theatre, through her wide reach in the performing arts.

Following some years of ensemble acting, Sabera Shaik now concentrates on directing major productions, and acting in one-woman plays in which she excels. She has been hailed as a sensitive and mesmerizing actor, expert in a range of emotional roles and situations.

Her own theatre company, Masakini Theatre, began by producing some of her own written works“ Lady Swettenham” and “My Bollywood Summer” which was acclaimed as a major breakthrough for Malaysian theatre. Recent productions have been Alan Bennett’s “Habeas Corpus” and Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days”. Currently Sabera Shaik is preparing a major production URMI, based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, an adaptation, for presentation in Bali, Singapore and in Kuala Lumpur in 2007.