IN all of India’s metros, Delhi still maintains its culinary reputation. So it is on a pleasant afternoon at the Italian joint, Ego at New Friends Colony, that I am to meet my multifaceted inspiration, Shovana Narayan. Disciple of Pt Birju Maharaj, Sadhna Bose and Shri Kundanlal, Shovana imbibes the Jaipur gharana of Kathak. As my car gives way just before this lunch appointment, I’m five minutes late and as I enter Ego, there she sits, resembling a miniature Mughal painting. Shovana orders a Blue Lagoon for drinks while I opt for the Cosmopolitan. Ego had essentially started off as a Pub Club but soon the excise eagles pointed out that there couldn’t be a sipping joint without food. So food it was, and then a DJ and a little dancing and soon Ego was a hit.
Drinks ordered, we at once break into discussion on our respective projects. Shovana tells me about Amrapali, which she’s going to stage shortly. She also talks about the immense research needed on the dress and dance steps of the Nagarvadhu of Vaishali. She has also started to choreograph the many faces of Shiva in dance form. We move on to the delectable starters—a light tomato and mozzarella salad, another rare salad made with walnuts and grapefruit called Pomella Salad, a plate of stuffed button mushrooms and of course the Cocktail B’bque Chicken.
As Shovana knows, my name—Mahima Casewa—is associated with ghazal or bhajan; and here I am, talking to her of my project, Azaadi se Azaadi tak: Mausiqui ka Safar, which was held at the India Habitat Centre on March 24. By this time, the waiter’s asking us for our main course. As per the chef’s recommendation, we share a pasta. The penne section at Ego is outstanding; all the same, Shovana orders a chicken steak, with barbecue pepper sauce while I order a thin-crust Neptune Pizza, exclusive to Ego.
It’s 3 pm. Although conversing with Shovana is invigorating, we must bring this relaxed afternoon to an end. However complex the future may be, I know of one thing: find a purpose and the means will follow.