The Attic Page


saturday 5th february

6.30 pm “Prayas” an Odissi dance recital by Snehasini

The creation of a beautiful piece of choreography in dance requires countless experiments, trials and creativity. This constant effort is ‘Prayas’ and Snehasini has chosen to title her performance as one of constant endeavour leading to beauty and perfection of movement.


She has choreographed herself for this evening “Jagabandhu Pari Jane Samanta”,   a composition by a poet of the Bhakti revolution in Odisa in the   ? Century. The spiritual life of the common Odiya starts and ends with Lord Jagannath. He identifies with Him and Lord Jagannath almost becomes a member of the family, so pervasive is his presence.  This composition is by Kavi Dinakrishna Das with a traditional tune, familiar to most Odiyas.


Snehasini comes from a family of musicians and started training in Odissi from the age of 11 under the guidance of Shri Raghunath Dutta. She continued with the famous young danseuse Meera Das in the lineage of Shri Kelucharan Mahapatra . For the last 8 years she has been learning with Padmashree Madhavi Mudgal in the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Delhi and is one of her senior most students.


She has performed with Madhavi’s group at international festivals in Malayasia, Singapore, Bangkok and the US as well as Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Lucknow and Delhi.




saturday 12th february

6.30 pm “The tradition of social documentary photography and its continuing relevance” a talk by Ram Rahman


Photographer Ram Rahman will speak about the tradition of social documentary photography and its continuing relevance. With reference to his own work, this will be a personal take on the work of Sunil Janah (india b1918), Walker Evans (USA 1903-1975), Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Mexico 1902-2002) and Brassai (France 1899-1984). Each of these photographers made a body of work which was epic in scale over many decades, strongly rooted in their own cultures. Ram will talk about the nature of the medium and its documentary language. A special highlight of the talk will be on Federico Fellini and his film La Dolce Vita, and its inspiration from the 'page 3' tabloid photographers in Rome in the late 1950's, especially Tazio Secchiaroli. This is an exploration of how an artist takes from reality, the transformations they make, and how creative subjectivity enters their oeuvre. Incorporating film and photography, the talk is a wide-ranging look at the relationship of photography and its role in documenting a society and its culture.

Photojournalist, artist, curator, designer and activist Ram Rahman, initially studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, he completed a degree in Graphic Design from Yale University School of Art . 

Rahman has shown his photographs in individual and group shows in India and around the world. His most recent solo shows include, ‘Bioscope: Scenes from an Eventful Life’ at Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, in 2008; ‘Apparao Infinity’, Chennai, in 2007; Photo Studio / Cutouts at IIC; and ‘Visions of India: Photographs by Ram Rahman’ at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.  Amongst his group shows, the most recent are ‘Still Moving Images’ at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, in 2008; ‘Click: Contemporary Photography’ from India at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2007; ‘I Fear, I Believe, I Desire’ at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, also in 2007; and ‘Middle Age Spread’ at the National Museum, New Delhi, in 2004. Amongst the shows Rahman has curated are ‘Heat Moving Pictures Visions’, ‘Phantasms and Nightmares’ at Bose Pacia, New York, in 2003; ‘Noor  Devyani Krishna, A Retrospective’ at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, in 2000; and Sunil Janah Photographs, A Retrospective at Gallery 678, New York, in 1998. 

Rahman is one of the founding members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) in New Delhi, a leader in the resistance to communal and sectarian forces in India through its public cultural action. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.



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 19th february

4 pm “Winter Snacks” a cooking demonstration and lecture by Dr Tabinda Burney


 This is the 1st in the series of cookery talks that will focus on an individual who will demonstrate some of their family recipes and talk about its culinary traditions. The first speaker is Dr Tabinda Burney, the middle one of the three famous Jalil sisters, each of whom will be presenting their favourite dishes and family anecdotes in this series. Their family, from Uttar Pradesh, was known for its innovative and idiosyncratic cooks, many of whom took pride in never cooking any dish the same way ever again! Born in an age innocent of Tetrapack when mothers did not rip open packets of cookies at tea-time, or kids pick up the phone to order Big Boys or Pizzas whenever they were struck by hunger pangs, the sisters were brought up on a steady diet of middle-class family values and good old fashioned home cooking!


Tea-times were special when at least three different types of snacks would be prepared from scratch and consumed at leisure among much banter and family chit-chat. Moreover, the snacks changed according to the season: if winter brought ghughni, ande ka halwa and qeeme ke samose (green peas, egg halwa, and mince-filled pasties), summer meant phalse ka sharbat, dahi ki phulkiyan and kharbooze ka falooda (sherbet made from plump phalsa berries, besan dumplings in curd spiked with garlic and chilies and roughly mashed melon and crushed ice sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar)!


As the first speaker of the series, Dr Tabinda Burney, will demonstrate, mothers served cooked-from-scratch meals that were wholesome and nutritious and meant for the entire family. Moreover, given the emphasis on preparing the meals, its eating was just as important. In our family home she says, the entire family gathered at the dining table at least three times during the day and missing members were subjected to disapproving looks which were far more effective than rebukes or reprimands. She will demonstrate some recipes from her family repertoire that were traditionally made during late winter afternoons; they depend upon fresh, seasonal produce for their goodness and taste.

Dr Burney lives in London and has two children. A doctor by profession, she specializes in respiratory medicine. Keenly interested in cooking and baking, her special interests are healthy eating and traditional dishes that were prepared in her mother's and grandmothers' kitchens. She likes to involve her children, whenever possible, in making simple and nutritious meals. Her book, 
Cooking for Kids: The Asian Way, is being published by Niyogi Books.



1.                              Kaali Gajar ka Halwa (a carrot halwa made of black gajar which comes briefly during winter and is not available during the rest of the year)

2.                              Chokar ki Tikiya (salted dough made from wheat husk and malai, cut into rounds and deep fried)

3.                              Matar ki Ghugni (Green peas lightly cooked with whole green chillies, zeera and pepper corns.)

4.                              Gur Dhani (a fudge-like sweet made from straws of besan, jaggery, peanuts, almonds, etc).

5.                              Adrak ki Chai served in kullars (tea spiked with ginger, served in earthen tumblers)

All items demonstrated will be served for tasting.

Registration Required: Rs 200 per head Call 23746050 or email