Saturday, May 7, 2016

Learning to cycle at 24... (Part I)

Back in the late 90s, my parents bought me a flashy orange Hero kids' bicycle to encourage me to take up cycling, like my sister, who was rapidly gaining height wheeling through the narrow lanes of our neighbourhood. But truth be told, I wasn't much inclined towards physical activity as a child; I always saw myself as the creative one, not the active one. (And that didn't change as I grew up - the one game I ended up playing at the national level in school was Chess.)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Life in the Metro

I sat across from her on the yellow line of the Delhi metro. I was on my way to my workplace in the heart of the largest vegetable market in the city. It was almost noon, I was drowsy. She had boarded three stations ago, standing for a while in the corner until she managed to find a seat, luckily opposite to mine. She looked 25, but could have been younger or older; I am not a good judge. I was distracted by her appearance. She was voluptuous, with extra generous curves and very fair skin. Dressed in jeans and a loosely fitted shirt, she sat staring into her phone, conscious of all the eyes pinned on her, including my own. The air was heavy with sweat and masculinity; she looked diminutive, almost non-existent, in comparison.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sister's wedding and all that jazz

It was one of my first cousins' wedding this past weekend. It would only be fair to call her a sister though, since we've lived together in the same joint family for 20 years and shared so many important moments in each others' lives. She is the first out of the six of us (cousins on my father's side) to enter holy(?) matrimony, and naturally, we were all super psyched and anxious for it to all go well.

Several weeks of preparation on our side, and of course several months of it on the couple's respective families' sides, went into making this wedding the great affair it ended up as. The proceedings weren't, of course, without their share of minor and major hiccups, but as the cliche goes, all's well that ends well. And this one ended at the crack of the dawn of my sister's brand new life with her husband and partner in all crimes. So no one should ideally be complaining (though that's a Utopian idea to harbour - but I digress).

It is world renowned that if there is one place where there's a riot of colours, festivity, loud music, dancing, endless drama and lots of hoopla, it has to be at a Punjabi wedding. It would not just suffice to say we had it all, and more. So I'll stop writing and share some of my shots from the Mehendi, Chooda and wedding functions to illustrate how beautiful the whole affair really was and how much fun we had.

The happy bride getting the traditional mehendi (henna) applied on her hands...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A misplaced idea of love

A mistaken sense of belonging
A misplaced idea of love
Is it real, what I perceive as mine?
Who am I? Where do I belong?

Finding comfort in pages and words
Impervious to faces, voices, and noises
Am I estranged from the world?
Or am I lost to my mind?

Here today, gone tomorrow
Transience has been me eternally
Memories plague me, certainty evades me
How long will I live in ivory towers?

A beating heart, a twitching ear
An insomniac's urge to run
They ask, what is out there?
What beckons me to fly?

Flitting between physical spaces
No semblance of ground in sight
Have I left home forever?
Or am I homeward bound?

On the trail of a place under the sun
I've lost track of where I come from
Will anything ever tie me down?
Is there no cornerstone I will find?

And in the wake of every flight
In my heart will I always find
A mistaken sense of belonging
A misplaced idea of love?

© Mahima Kohli 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memoirs from Gujarat: Reliving Bollywood, one palace at a time

The sights and sounds of Gujarat constantly remind you of one or the other Bollywood movie. Filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ashutosh Gowarikar, and Sooraj Barjatya, smitten by its picturesque locales and larger-than-life forts and palaces, have repeatedly taken recourse to shooting for their films in Gujarat, giving birth to such visual treats as Lagaan; Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam; Kai Po Che; Ram Leela; Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster; and most recently, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.

This past December, my friends and I took the opportunity to explore the filmy charm and beauty of two such palaces in the Kutch area of Gujarat. The first palace on our royal itinerary was Vijaya Vilas Palace, which many will recognise as the British house from the movie Lagaan, and also Aishwarya's Rai's family home in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (refer to this video).