As the capital cosies up to the misty months ahead, it sure won’t be a winter of discontent for Delhiites. Quite the contrary, in fact. For the city is as charged as a Duracell bunny this chilly season with a variety of options to whet everybody’s cravings.From culture vultures to,As the capital cosies up to the misty months ahead, it sure won’t be a winter of discontent for Delhiites. Quite the contrary, in fact. For the city is as charged as a Duracell bunny this chilly season with a variety of options to whet everybody’s cravings.From culture vultures to sport fanatics, there’s something on for just about everyone. So kick start those frozen knees with a high-octane game of football, cool them with a nice nature or heritage walk, trip out on a soul vacation with music under the velvet sky or park yourself for some poetry or a film screening. You decide. We’re just listing out what has to be on your to-do cool list this winterPuppetryPuppetry show About Ram at IHCWith innovation and experimentation being the buzzwords this year, India Habitat Centre (IHC) kicked off this season with a puppetry extravaganza presented by puppet-designer Anurupa Roy and animator Vishal K. Dar called About Ram.A narrative on the life of Ram the play uses an adaptation of classical Japanese puppetry called Bunraku and pushes the sacred boundaries between different styles of performing arts. While the puppeteers are not only present on stage as they work their strings (in this case, handles) what is even more fascinating is how Ram, a puppet with an aquiline face, uses the puppeteers’ bodies-literally climbing and jumping over them – as he narrates the story of his life.Combined with soft Hindustani classical music, Roy’s play also features shadow puppetry (using traditional Tolubommalata puppets from Andhra Pradesh) and AV screens that make the millionth retelling of Ram’s immortal story a truly novel experience. Says puppeteer and theatre person Varun Narayan, “Delhi has always welcomed experimentation in all forms.advertisementThe only problem is that people have gotten rather used to free passes and are a bit averse to shelling out ticket money these days.” Narayan’s new puppet play, Bhangra on the Moon, an experimental puppetry venture, opens at Kamani this month and promises to keep up the impetus of About Ram. Also on the cards is a Christmas Special slated for mid-December where Narayan plans to experiment with various forms inclduing shadow and string puppetry.Poetry readingPoetry reading at AksharaFor the last 30 years now, verse enthusiasts in the capital have been flocking to Akshara Theatre’s poetry reading sessions every winter. This year is no different. But this time, Akshara is focussing on Indian poetry.”Poetry is the one medium where there has never been any caste or class distinction,” says the theatre’s co-founder Jalabala Vaidya, adding that translations of greats like Meera, Kabir and Thyagraja are being encouraged this year.This year, Akshara will intro-duce audiences to these poets who have kept the oral tradition of India alive. Akshara will also showcase young poets from the capital, some of whom who have already been published in the Akshara Anthology of Young Poets.All this over hot cups of Akshara’s famous soup that is served to all members of the audience. Besides Akshara, Amit Dahiya Badhshah, host of IHC’s Tuesday night poetry sessions, Delhi Poetree, also hosts sessions at different venues four to five nights a week.Music in the parkKishori Amonkar at Nehru ParkAn enviable venue-Nehru Park-and a pantheon of polished performers-Music in the Park is ideal for both the connoisseur and the uninitiated. Organised by Star Care, NDMC and Spicmacay, the line up offers everything from Hindustani classical to Carnatic music. This season’s programme opened with a recital by Kishori Amonkar on October 14. Every alternate Saturday will see a performance by such greats as Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan among others.”Delhi’s grounds are tailormade for open air performances,” says Shubha Mudgal who is also performing this season. Unlike a traditional concert hall recital, there is no prerequisite pin drop silence here-you can chat a little, exchange notes with your girlfriend or find a kindred spirit in the stranger sitting next to you.A word of caution: it’s open air, so voices resonate, therefore, cellphones and loudmouthed friends are a strict nono. Besides, the starry sky above and music of the gods below, what more can one ask for? And did we mention, entry is free.FootballPlayers practice for a league gameWinter is also soccer season in the capital. And one of the most awaited events of the football cal-ender is the Delhi Diplomatic Soccer International League (October 30-November 30), meant strictly for amateur players. This winter, the league will organise matches at the US Embassy grounds and teams will feature employees from diplomatic missions, corporate firms as well as college students.Weekly matches are played with six-a-side teams after office hours, while weekends see a whole new ball game, complete with 11-member teams. Currently there are 32 teams playing six-a-side and 22 playing 11-a-side.advertisement”Anybody from the age of 14 to 55 is welcome to play,” says Aashish Khanna, the league’s coordinator. Once the league gets over, friendly matches are played at Ambedkar Stadium, Siri Fort, or at the US or the British Embassy through the winter months.WalksNature walk in the winter sunThere is no better time than now to get out and discover your city. The IHC organises nature walks twice a month that scout historical monuments and heritage sites and are led by noted historians and academicians, experts. Deeba Sobti, noted historian and host of many IHC walks says, “These are more than just heritage walks, what we try and recreate is an understanding of a bygone era.”Besides, the IHC is also hosting a bird walk at the Okhla Bird Park in Noida this weekend. The aim is to acquaint people with the 450 species of birds found in and around Delhi. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) also organises heritage walks in areas like Old Delhi (Shahjahanbad) and the Mehrauli Archeological Park around the Qutb world heritage site every Saturday and Sunday. So if you dig the outdoors but are not quite sporty, a walk around town is your best bet.and more…A Screening at the AtticIt doesn’t end here. From upcoming film festivals to film screenings at venues like the IHC, British Council, Max Mueller Bhavan, Alliance Francaise and various cultural centres at embassies. As regulars will proudly state, you won’t find any chick flicks here.For those interested in history and documentaries, another place to keep in mind is the Attic which screens films like My Father, the Builder which is a recording of the talk given by Khushwant Singh at the India International Centre (IIC).If live concerts get you grooving, but classical is not quite your thing, check out the IIC and Pragati Maidan, hosts of fantastic outdoor dos. Case in point, the recent Indian Ocean performance at the IIC. For those looking for the great outdoors but sandwiched between a Friday night and an early Monday morning, the city brings the outback into your backyard.The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) at Benito Juarez Road near South Campus with excellent rock climbing facilities is worth a try. Called a sport wall, the wall at IMF guarantees adventure buffs their adrenalin rush.”Though we are open all year through now is the best time for those interested in rock climbing, especially for first timers,” says Col M. K Bhimwal, director, IMF. So take your pick and step out now, celebrate winter before it truly sets in.