december 2011 programmes

 

 friday 2nd december
6.30 pm “The Original Bowen Technique from Australia: Effective for a wide range of Health Issues” by Mr. Ian Dixon

saturday 3rd december

6.30 pm “Fragrance of our Soil: A garland of Chaiti, Kajri, Thumri, folk and bhajans” by Maitreyi Majumdar 

tuesday 6 december
6.30 pm
“Cricket, Culture and Conversation with Asif Noorani”
 

thursday 8th december
7 to 9 pm ‘OUTSIDE IN’ – a witty literary evening with Susanna and Brandi

 

friday 9th december
7
pm A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonald’s” a solo performance by Sahil Farooqi
 

saturday 10th december
1 to 2 pm Food Meditation # 19
and a conversation with
Subodh Abbhi   

monday, 12th december 
6.30 pm “Ghazals of Great Poets” A soulful rendition of Ghazals and poetry of Great Poets by Puja Mehra Gupta

saturday 17th december
4-5 pm “Sweets from Sargodha” a talk and demonstration by Subhag Singh

thursday 29th december
6.30 pm “Waking From Dreams of India” an illustrated talk by Neil Chowdhury

 

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friday 2nd december
6.30 pm “The Original Bowen Technique from Australia: Effective for a wide range of Health Issues” by Mr. Ian Dixon
 

The Bowen Technique was developed by Mr. Tom Bowen (1916-1982) from Geelong, Australia. While he was developing his therapy in Australia in the 1950s and 60s, he was fascinated by the different postures people had, and how this related to their symptoms of ill-health or muscle pain, etc. He successfully treated 13000 patients a year.  

Oswald and Elaine Rentsch (Osteopath & Homeopath,) then worked with Tom Bowen and documented the technique. They commenced teaching it after Tom Bowen’s death, as per his wish. They have since taken the technique to more than 25 countries all over the world and are the Principals of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia.  

Bowen is a very non-invasive State of the art Technique and has profound effects on various chronic disorders including degenerated spine, arthritis, rheumatism, stress, chronic fatigue, acidity, fractures, sprains, sports injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, asthma, nervous disorders, mental and emotional equilibrium, women’s problems including fertility and many other ailments. In Bowen, specific moves are made on ligaments, tendons or muscles which most likely activate the Golgi receptors and send signals to the brain, the neurological pathways, the fascia, also activating the meridians, and the electromagnetic field of the person. Unlike other treatments the body does its own rectification and the will of the practitioner is not imposed on the client. It has been suggested that the Bowen Technique may introduce specific harmonic frequencies to the body systems on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. 

The therapist uses his/her fingers or thumbs to move over muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and joints (and occasionally directly over nerves themselves), in order to elicit a healing response in the body. 

A unique feature of the Bowen technique is the frequent pauses between each series of moves.  These are given to allow the body to respond and integrate what is being done. (It does not bombard the body with a host of impulses to deal with all at once).  During these pauses, the therapist will usually leave the room.  This lets the person relax without feeling that they have to keep a conversation or that they are being watched.  The pauses vary in duration from person to person and from condition to condition. 

Mr. Ian Dixon is one of the 30 Bowtech accredited Bowen instructors in Australia, the birthplace of this incredible technique. This is his second visit to India, the first being to Satya Sai Baba’s ashram in Puttaparthi several years ago. Having worked as an agricultural scientist for 20 years, before a career change to natural therapies, Ian works from his busy Bowen Clinic and Training Centre in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. He is passionate about making the healing benefits of the Bowen technique available to as many people as possible.

 

saturday 3rd december
6.30 pm “Fragrance of our Soil: A garland of Chaiti, Kajri, Thumri, folk and bhajans” by Maitreyi Majumdar
 

The innumerable varieties of folk songs that exist all over India bear a testament to the rich musical tradition of our vast land. Maitreyi’s presentation of Chaiti, Kajri, Thumri, folk and bhajans transports you to the interiors of north India, where these songs originated. Threading this garland of different forms of music and the beautiful and varied themes is their connection to   the essence of the soil.  Rediscover the fragrance of the earth and experience the magical and myriad hues of different landscapes, seasons and moods along this musical journey. 

Some of the songs she will present are: Taras aila jiyara hamaar re ab naihar me (Kajri); Bhiji jayoon main, piya bachaye laiyo (Kajri); Chaita masa boleli koyeliya, ho rama, more anganwa (Chaiti); Baake saanwariya tore to nainone (Thumri); Jhula dhirese jjhulao sukumari siyare (jhula—Ram-Sita); Kanha thari gopiyana bajubandha sohe (Rajasthani folk); Loki ta dede sanu taane (Punjabi folk). 

Maitreyi is a uniquely gifted vocalist who has imbibed the best of classical gayaki in her journey towards developing a distinctly individual style, one which has earned her a place among the very talented vocalists. 

She inherited the music tradition from her parents who encouraged her in choosing music as a career. Later she trained under eminent masters Sh. K. Bhattacharya, Pt. L.K. Pandit of the Gwalior Gharana and subsequently she became  a gandabandh shishya of Padma  Bhushan  Dr.  Shanno  Khurana,  among  the  topmost  exponents  of  the  Rampur Sehaswan Gharana. 

Maitreyi has performed extensively in India, and has also accompanied her Guru to concerts in the US, London, Paris, Vienna, International Music Festival in Uzbekistan and the Festival of India in Moscow. A regular performer on AIR & Doordarshan, Maitreyi is empanelled with the I.C.C.R and a recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Sangeet Shiromani Puraskar presented by Sangeet Bharti of Bikaner (Rajasthan). 

 

tuesday 6 december
6.30 pm
“Cricket, Culture and Conversation with Asif Noorani”
 

 India Pakistan relations are interesting to a very small group of newspaper nerds and foreign policy wonks. For the other 99% it is “Boom Boom Shahid Afridi” (Asif Noorani’s second book) and the recent jailing of 3 Pakistani cricketers in London for match fixing. So for this evenings conversation we have asked him to drop some of the heavy stuff, though it will inevitably creep in and concentrate on the fun aspects of the relationship between the two countries.  

Sometime in the late sixties when Ajitpal Singh was leading an Asian Eleven, comprising almost entirely Indian and Pakistani players, against a European Eleven, he was asked if he enjoyed playing against the Pakistanis. “Yes of course” he said “except for one major problem. They understand all our gaalis.”  

Aside from sport at least North India and Pakistan are united by the ghazal form of music. Here again Asif’s latest book “Mehdi Hasan: The Man and his Music” comes to the rescue with the 2 CD’s that accompany the book. He will play a few extracts from rare recordings of the master who was incidentally born in Jhunjunu, Rajasthan and will also talk about our common musical heritage. 

In addition his talk will be based on observations and anecdotes culled from his 12 trips to India, his being stuck in Bombay during the 1965 war and other hilarious and not so funny incidents of these travels. 

Born in Mumbai in 1942, Asif Noorani was ten when he migrated with his parents to Pakistan, living for the first three years in Lahore and for the rest of his life in Karachi. An ardent crusader for establishing cordial relations between India and Pakistan, he conveys his viewpoint through his writings and talks. His first book, Tales of Two Cities (Roli Books) which he co-authored with the well known Indian writer Kuldip Nayar narrates his experiences in a narrative, laced with benign humour.  

Noorani works for the Dawn Group- the leading media organization in Pakistan. In his trademark humourous style he writes on culture, (particularly music and literature), on travel and reviews books and music. He blogs on Dawn dot com and occasionally appears on TV programmes.  

With a Master’s in English literature and years of experience in communication, he also teaches print journalism and media marketing in Karachi.  

We hope to have copies of his books and Mehdi Hasan CDs available for sale. 

 

thursday 8th december
7 to 9 pm ‘
OUTSIDE IN’ – a witty literary evening with Susanna and Brandi

                                                  First City and T.L.R Café present Outside In, a witty literary evening devoted to the discussion
of navigating new worlds, and the humour and trials therein.

Hosted by First City's own firangi columnists, Susanna Wickes and Brandi Dawn Henderson, the programme includes readings from select columns and much back and forth banter on what it takes, in order to ‘make it’ and really feel like you belong, in a city like Delhi, followed by a session of Q&A (not to mention an opportunity to share your more bemusing, or amusing take your pick - stories!).

 

This evening is devoted to life, love, laughter, language and learning.

Entry on first come, first served basis, or RSVP to events.firstcity@gmail.com to get your name on the list and be sure to arrive by 7 pm to ensure entry and participation.

Susanna Wickes is an Arts graduate from Scotland, and is studying Hindi at Delhi University. In her spare time, she attempts Indian cookery, takes photos, and documents the weird and wonderful aspects of Delhi life. Log onto www.susannawickes.co.uk, for more.


Brandi Dawn Henderson is a traveling writer, on regular journeys that prove truths to be no strangers to fictions. She collects cowboy boots and tattoos, has been an Indophile since 2007, and fields international advice inquiries at www.askbran.com.


friday 9th december
7
pm A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonald’s” a solo performance by Sahil Farooqi

Based on Sahil Farooqi's semi-autobiographical journey of an immigrant caught between the East and the West. “A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonald’s” reveals the stories and dreams of a boy moving to America and his continuous search for cultural identity and acceptance in western society. But in the post 9/11 world his dreams of America are changed forever. This exciting solo performance is a mix of story telling, spoken word poetry and monologues.

Born in India, Sahil Farooqi was raised in a family full of writers and language critics which exposed him to a world of poetry and theatre.  At an early age, he moved to the United States with his mother. Farooqi earned a B.A. in Theatre Studies with a concentration in Acting from Emerson Colle
ge. In Boston he developed his first solo show Flip The Switch, about a South Asian boy choosing Theatre over Medical or Engineering. While living in
Washington D.C. he worked with Sol & Soul Theatre Company for two years, where he performed regularly with the company during their Hip-Hop Theatre Festival. Farooqi also had an apprenticeship with Regie Cabico, a spoken word artist and the Artistic Director of Sol & Soul. Together they developed Farooqis second solo piece A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonalds, into an hour long performance.

Farooqi now lives in New York City where he is running a popular monthly performance series called Hipster Circus in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Farooqi recently preformed his solo piece A Brown Monkey goes to McDonalds at the Gene Frankel Theatre as a part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festival NYC. And he was invited to perform at the Howl Festival in the East Village.

Along with A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonalds he has also performed Coffee GRINDR at Dixon Place Theatre NYC, a new solo show about finding love on the Internet in New York City. In 2011, Farooqi appeared on Sundance Channels new mini documentary-series called Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. He currently lives in Williamsburg.

saturday 10th december
1 to 2 pm Food Meditation # 19
and a conversation with
Subodh Abbhi   

The Food Meditation sessions continue with a slight difference this month. After the food we have invited Subodh Abbhi to talk about his bio diversity farm near Dehradun. 

 Menu

Makki ki roti (Corn roti)
Sarson ka saag (Mustard spinach)
Brown Rice
Chana ki Daal
Lassi (Buttermilk)
 

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. 

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 you enjoy this traditional Punjabi meal.  

Subodh Abbhi is an environmental activist and was responsible along with others in preventing the massive expansion of the Ranbaxy Group in the Sirmur district in Himachal. He has been involved with the local people, in ensuring transparency in governance making extensive use of the RTI Act.  

He is farming a 25 acre Biodynamic and Vedic Farm growing certified organic: Mangoes; strawberry; Litchi; Wheat; Rice and Vegetables. His organization ‘The Sylvan Heights Vedic & Biodynamic Farm’ works with ‘the energies which create and maintain life to secure a healthy soil and healthy plants.’ They use the technique of ‘agnihotra’ which is a part of ancient Vedic practices of medicine, agriculture and climate engineering. The brown rice that we eat today is biodynamically produced at his farm. 

Participation is by registration on payment only. Call The Attic 23746050 or email: mina@theatticdelhi.org.

Organized by Anaam, food cooked by Sangita.
Charges:  Rs 125.
 

 

monday, 12th december 
6.30 pm “Ghazals of Great Poets” A soulful rendition of Ghazals and poetry of Great Poets by Puja Mehra Gupta

The Ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazals may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love despite that pain. The form is ancient, originating in the 6th century Arabic Verse. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central theme of love and separation. Ghazals were written by the Persian mystics and poets Rumi (13th Century) and Hafiz (14th Century) as well as Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938). In some ghazals the poets name is featured somewhere in the last verse, a convention known as takhallus

Puja Mehra Gupta will lend her voice and expression to the poetry of some of the greatest Urdu Poets that have lived in the last three centuries like Mirza Ghalib, Sudershan Faakir, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Shakeel Badayuni, Hasrat Muhani, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and others poets of similar stature in this evening of “Ghazals of Great Poets”.

Puja possesses a deep love and passion for music from birth and is highly committed to continuing the interesting though difficult form of ghazals gayaki. She inherited the music tradition from her mother who came from Lahore and her father who came from Peshawar. She began her musical training at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and now is a protégé of the highly acclaimed Padma Bhushan Smt. Shanti Hiranand who herself is the very well known descendant of the famous Mallika-e-Ghazal Begum Ahktar                              

Puja has performed sparingly and is just embarking on the journey of her musical expression. Puja believes that music is an endless ocean and has now taken the plunge into the depths. She hopes to swim with the currents and for her this journey is as much about exploring the world of music as it is about discovering her own self.  

 

 

In Remembrance of Things Past Series 

Almost a 100 years ago Marcel Proust had a cup of tea that sent him into an exquisite memory of the little sponge cakes that he used to have at his aunt’s house as a child. Quoted below is the famous madeleine episode that has become one of the most famous passages in French literature and that is inspiring this series.

 “No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs  touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. ... Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? ... And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.”

Food, not only assuages hunger but the memory of it, the cooking, the eating, the sharing is very much part of our family and  cultural heritage. Like the characters in Proust’s 7 volume work “In Remembrance of Things Past” we view our food through a  multiplicity of perspectives. The significance of what is happening (or what we are eating) is often placed within the memory or in the inner contemplation of what is described (eaten). This focus on the relationship between experience, memory and writing (eating) becomes a part of us and throughout this work and in our culinary lives many similar instances of involuntary memory, triggered by sensory experiences such as sights, sounds and smells conjure important memories for the narrator and remind us of the foods that we have enjoyed in family settings when we were young.

 

 


saturday 17th december
4-5 pm “Sweets from Sargodha” a talk and demonstration by Subhag Singh


My grandmother (Beji), (we never even knew her name for a long time) was born in Sargodha, now Pakistan in 1897. She still lives in our memory as one of the nicest people we have ever known not least because she was such a wonderful cook. As we should all know by now good food is not made by famous chefs with fancy ingredients. It is simple food made at home with patience and love.

My grandfather was both a doctor and a great farmer. According to him he grew the largest grapefruit and the tastiest oranges which even the British District Collector used to praise.

I remember most of all the three sweets that she would always have and which we used to take to our schools and colleges wherever we were in the world. These are

Gajar ka Halwa- Halvas are famous all over the middle East and South Asia. They can be made with wheat, lentil,seeds and nuts and vegetables.This typical Punjabi dessert is made with Carrots, Ghee and sugar or Gur

Pinnis
– This typically north Indian ladoo shaped sweet has only 4 ingredients – Atta (wheat), Ghee (clarified butter), sugar and milk garnished with a dryfruit mixture


Mithi Roti- This was ‘Beji’s’ best kept secret, only because it took so long nobody bothered to learn. There are only 2 ingredients Bajra (millet) and Gur (unrefined Sugar). The 3rd most secret ingredient was patience.

Subhag Singh was born in Sargodha in her grandparents house but inherited none of her grandmother’s culinary talents. She graduated from Elphinstone College, Bombay and then studied at the Sorbonne in Paris where she learnt French but showed no desire to learn anything about French cuisine. She lives in Delhi and rarely invites her family to dinner.
 

Registration Required: Rs 150 per head to be paid in advance.  

Call 23746050 or email mina@theatticdelhi.org or mail cheque in favor of ‘Amarjit Bhagwant Singh Charitable Trust’ to The Attic 10 Regal Buildings, New Delhi 110001.

  

thursday 29th december
6.30 pm “Waking From Dreams of India” an illustrated talk by Neil Chowdhury
 

This work tells the story of my lifelong dream of exploring India, the land of my father's birth. He died without telling me much about the culture in which he grew up or his early life there. Growing up in the United States, isolated from Indian culture fostered the cultivation of imaginative fantasy about the land of my ancestry. My knowledge of India ripened from exoticized Western media accounts. None of this prepared me for the masala mix of complexity, misery and beauty of contemporary India that I finally had the opportunity to see for myself. Having now made several trips, and collected a wealth of photographic images, videotape, and journal writings, I am shaping this material into a body of work that connects and contrasts my youthful fantasies of India with my adult experience building a relationship with the land of my ancestry. With this work, I hope to symbolize the merging of my experience of the place with the expectations I carried for half a lifetime. 

I merge images from different times and places to juxtapose ancient and modern, mythical and real, imagined and lived. I collage appropriated popular Indian “calendar art” imagery of Hindu deities into my montages of Indian street scenes, referencing contemporary clashes of values and cultures that are occurring on the subcontinent. By removing these printed gods from spiritual contemplation in sylvan glades and temples, and bringing them into the capitalist hurly burly that is contemporary India, I want to show how the Hindu pantheon, representing an imperturbable and entirely non-western view of reality, is palpable in the integration of spirituality into the country’s daily life. India also worships newer Deities with as much fervor as the old. Western materialism and the mass appeal of flavor-of-the-month Bollywood icons have added another vibrant layer to India’s visual culture. The iconography of consumerism and media celebrity often borrows from that of the ancient gods. These recent manifestations of India’s striving for an earthly paradise have also found a place in my art. 

As a child of mixed British and Indian heritage, I witnessed and took part in post-colonial battles playing themselves out on a domestic scale. For me, the complex history of India and its imagery signifies the emergence of my own identity, a slow process of assimilating influences from both Western and Indian cultures. My use of Hindu images as a kind of subversive bridge between cultures speaks to multiple meanings and interpretations by individuals on either, or like myself, both sides of the east-west divide. Finding some way to reconcile these differing perspectives inspires this creative project. 

Neil Chowdhury is an artist working in photography and digital media. His work explores the relationships between individuals, their societies, and environments in different cultures. Currently, he is working on a project exploring his Indian heritage, entitled “Waking from Dreams of India.” Mr. Chowdhury is an assistant professor and director of the photography program at Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, New York. He has also taught at Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan; and the University of Washington, Seattle. He received his M.F.A. in photography at the University of Washington. His photography and digital video works have been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. Chowdhury also worked for several years as an industrial photographer for Ford Motor Company, and does freelance travel, editorial, and commercial photography.