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Reem Khokhar

Freelance writer

Location icon India

I freelance with various prominent publications on travel, culture, social trends and issues and personal narratives. Telling a great story is what I strive to achieve with my writing and I indulge most of my tale telling abilities in my blog - reemspeak.com - a humorous (usually) take on relationships, life and celebrating the extraordinary in the ordinary. There is no dearth of inspiration around me with my husband and dogs, friends, the bustling city of Delhi where I live, the choir that I sing with, my nomadic childhood or the places where I travel.

I have worked in marketing, PR and communication over 16 years. Writing has always been an integral part of my professional roles. Whether starting out as a content writer or packaging content for social media, writing press releases or pitching a story to the media.

Portfolio
The Hindu
10/31/2019
The BOYS are back

"We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day." Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie's iconic song from the 80s rang through a packed Kamani Auditorium in Delhi on Monday evening.

The Hindu
10/08/2019
Doggy Prattle | Pet peeves of privileged pets

"What is this brown sludge?" I growled, pushing away the bowl placed in front of me. "Don't fuss, Mia!" scolded Reem, shoving the bowl back towards me, "It's a wholesome nutritious bowl of ragi porridge with lashings of dahi and just a drizzle of honey. It's delicious, now don't be fussy."

The Hindu
09/20/2019
History in a teacup

Crowded around a polished wooden table, we peer closely at a teapot and tiny cups clustered by it. The young man opposite us deftly fills each cup with a pale gold brew, passing it around. It has a delicate taste, fragrant and light.

National Geographic Traveller India
09/01/2019
Watch Horses Perform Ballet in Austria

50 kilometres from Vienna, an elite range of horses pull in crowds from across the world, when they take centre stage at the annual Lipizzaner Gala. Read more on Nat Geo Traveller India.

Hindustan Times Mint
08/28/2019
The little gestures that can heal big rifts at work

Sameer Guha keeps his social media accounts free from work connections. But after ignoring friend requests from few colleagues, he realized some of them had taken offence at his dismissal. "I sent out messages explaining my preference after a senior colleague got upset and was passively hostile," says Guha, who works as general counsel (India and the Indian subcontinent) for Mars, a global FMCG company.

The Hindu
08/26/2019
Doggy Prattle | Humans are going to the dogs, but dogs are going places

"Where have you two been?" shrieked Reem, opening the front door for us. We trooped in with our backpacks and suitcases, allowing ourselves to be petted and kissed and hugged and squeezed. "We thought you went missing! Sid and I have been looking all over for you.

The Hindu
08/21/2019
Water to wine? Climate change is barking up the wrong tree

"Look at that street dog lapping water out of a slimy puddle," I said, my snout wrinkled in disdain, whiskers grazing the window pane. Taking a long sip of chilled cucumber water, I sprinkled a few drops on the head of the white and brown dog sprawled next to me in a cool air-conditioned reverie.

The Hindu
07/18/2019
This choir from Delhi adds of a dash of Bollywood to Scotland

We disembark from our coach in sun-drenched Haddington. A cluster of beaming faces welcomes our choir group - The Capital City Minstrels. After the initial enquiries about our flight, a slightly awkward pause ensues. As if on cue, a bagpiper emerges, welcoming us with a lusty tune.

Hindustan Times Mint
05/22/2019
When one name has myriad challenges

Tired of questions that followed whenever she introduced herself-"Neha what? No last name?"- a five-year-old replied, "Only Neha", when the local butcher asked her name. He found her response very amusing, and three decades later Neha's family in Bengaluru still jokes about calling from "Only Neha's house" when they order from the butcher.

The Hindu
05/10/2019
Life is a test; fly it

"One of the greatest charms of test-flying is that you can fly any aircraft!" says Group Captain Ajit Agtey (Retired), the pleasure behind his words palpable over the phone. He and my father were friends from the decades they spent in the Indian Air Force - both were fighter pilots - but also part of a smaller group of elite aviators.

Serenade
05/03/2019
It's been quite a journey

Rishan Bhatnagar is the first child from India to be in the over 500 year old Vienna Boys' Choir. After spending four years with the group, he is set to graduate in a few months and looks back at his extraordinary journey. "This last year has been different from the first few.

The Hindu
05/02/2019
Four great day trips from Washington DC

Virginia is home to several 18th and 19th-Century plantations, many of which are open to visitors to give them a glimpse into the life of Southern plantations, slavery and aristocratic landowners. One of the most famous estates, just 30 minutes from Washington DC, is Mount Vernon - George Washington's plantation house.

Hindustan Times Mint
03/13/2019
Be passionate about part-time pursuits

Those who are committed to a passion will make time for it despite a hectic work schedule.Having something in your life which is just for you, which isn't geared towards paying the bills or getting a promotion, brings you joy

Scroll.in
03/11/2019
The truth about polyamory in India - 'it isn't about sex and fun'

Basit Manham was in his mid-teens when he first felt attracted to multiple partners. "Dating was not an option [then]," said Manham, "but I...had an emotional intimacy with several people." At 19, when he did begin to date, the thought of this simultaneous attraction lingered.

Asiaville
02/13/2019
Letters from my father

My dad's handwriting reminds me of a more personal, connected, and handcrafted time.

Quartz India
01/22/2019
The stigma around retirement communities is slowly fading in India

For Alakananda Bhattacharya, a 37-year-old freelance writer in Delhi, ageing is not a "favourite subject to think about." She avoids it fervidly, but when her thoughts do turn to the inevitable, they centre on "moving away from the city's pollution and crowds to somewhere with more nature and less concrete."

Scroll.in
01/17/2019
No more stigma: Why retirement communities are finally growing in India

For Alakananda Bhattacharya, a 37-year-old freelance writer in Delhi, ageing is not a "favourite subject to think about". She avoids it fervidly, but when her thoughts do turn to the inevitable, they centre on "moving away from the city's pollution and crowds to somewhere with more nature and less concrete".

Outlook Traveller Getaways - Girls on Holiday
01/01/2019
Wish upon a Shooting Star

A guide to a girls vacay in Sitla, Uttarakhand

https://www.livemint.com/
12/24/2018
Promise to value personal time this holiday season

Jonathan Marques' Instagram page is filled with photographs of his recent holiday to South Africa, an annual break, which he plans along with a few shorter getaways through the year. Marques, 32, is a business and research analyst with a global accounting firm, and like many in corporate India, has a demanding work schedule.

The Hindu
Curtains down at Udaipur's international storytelling festival

Turmeric wafts through the audience, hanging in an amber cloud around the woman on stage. In a purple sari, hair in a fierce swirl around her shoulders, she breathes heavily, eyes wide with defiance. A rousing applause begins. Actor Smita Tambe has just performed, through narration and dance, a tale called Jogwa, about a young girl who dreams of becoming a dancer.

Hindustan Times Mint Lounge
11/30/2018
On the road to Rishikesh

Fifty years ago, in February 1968, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Rishikesh received its most famous visitors-The Beatles. They came looking for peace and quiet, and answers. But if it was not for one of the women in their lives, the Fab Four may never have visited India.

The Hindu
11/14/2018
Tell us a story

Udaipur Tales is an international storytelling festival that brings together storytellers and performers from all over the world

Vistara Airlines in-flight magazine
11/01/2018
Belfast - Where walls reflect history

Murals and graffiti, bustling weekend markets and raucous pubs, home to the most famous television show in the world and the most famous ship that was, Belfast is fierce and fascinating

The City Story
10/09/2018
How To Spend 48 Hours In DC | The City Story

WORDS BY REEM KHOKHAR Neo-classical architecture, historic landmarks, quirky neighbourhoods, malls, museums, cultural cauldrons, and culinary hotspots... the capital of the United States of America is all things to all people. Conscious of its history and confident in its modernity, the city's identity as seat of political power is understated but omnipresent.

Scroll.in
09/17/2018
For Indian millennials, travel is a way of life - and they're even taking loans to fund it

Aakash Malhotra has spent the better part of July and August travelling solo in Indonesia. His experiences were varied, from sighting Komodo dragons to scuba diving across some of the most challenging sites in Indonesia. He swam with manta rays and trekked up an active volcano, Mount Batur, to catch the spectacular sunrise from the peak.

The Times of India - Times Life
09/02/2018
Towering above the rest

The beautiful and a touch of the bizarre in San Gimignano

The Hindu
08/02/2018
A slice of the unexpected in Shimla

A siren slices the evening air, stopping us in our tracks. Our host, Amish Sud, explains, "It signals the end of the work day in Shimla. 5 o'clock."

Quartz
07/01/2018
"It is a pretty nasty world": Why more Indians choose not to have kids

"Am I an antinatalist?" I thought out loud, after coming across the term in an article. My husband responded, "Antinationalist? Aren't we all supposedly antinationalist nowadays?" I corrected him-it is a philosophy that believes it's cruel to bring humans into this overburdened world-while continuing to think about the idea.

Scroll.in
07/23/2018
Many Indians are deciding not to bring children into this overpopulated, unkind world

"Am I an antinatalist?" I thought out loud, after coming across the term in an article. My husband responded, "Antinationalist? Aren't we all supposedly antinationalist nowadays?" I corrected him - it is a philosophy that believes it's cruel to bring humans into this overburdened world - while continuing to think about the idea.

The City Story
07/02/2018
5 Things To Do In And Around Pragpur | The City Story

WORDS BY REEM KHOKHAR Two abandoned brick mansions rise up in a mustard field of green and gold. The light filters through the broken panes, dancing across the silent, empty hall, walls heavy with conversations long concluded. As the sun sets, it looks like a film location.

The Hindu
06/30/2018
Schubert and Shakuntala

An ancient text. One of the great masters of Western classical music. An Indian choir. A celebrated Kathak dancer. An orchestra from Austria. What do they have in common? This is a unique artistic alliance that will culminate in a staging of Franz Schubert's opera, Shakuntala, in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata this October.

The Times of India
06/02/2018
Made in Firenze - Times of India

Losing your way in the bylanes of Florence is perhaps one of the most romantic things that could happen to you.

Vistara Airlines in-flight magazine
05/01/2018
From Liverpool to Rishikesh - 50th anniversary of the Beatles' visit to India

The Beatles are iconic. Any site associated with them is bound to draw fans and visitors. Rishikesh is where the band spent a few weeks in 1968 and 2018 marks 50 years of their visit. Rishikesh and Liverpool, their hometown, celebrate this significant period in the lives of The Beatles.

The Hindu
04/19/2018
As it is in heaven

It's not everyday that one gets to be taken around Vienna by a Vienna choir boy! Rishan Bhatnagar is the 1st Indian in the renowned over-500-years-old choir and was our cheeky guide over a few days in the Austrian capital.

The City Story
02/06/2018
Head To The Mountains: 5 Things To Do In Shimla And Naldehra

WORDS BY REEM KHOKHAR Shimla used to be firmly off my "places to visit" list - I'd heard of a concrete jungle spilling over the hillside, "tattu tourism" with grown men stuffed on ponies waddling around hairpin bends, and a riot of multi-cuisine restaurants serving Mughlai-Chinese.

The Times of India (Times Life)
01/21/2018
Blue Trails

Walking the gorgeous Cinque Terre

The Hindu
08/31/2017
The light in high places - travelling through Sitla, Kumaon Himalayas

"If you see a leopard, just keep doing what you're doing. If you're singing, keep singing. If talking, keep talking...". Solid advice from long-time Sitla resident and owner of Sitla Estate, Vikram Maira, who patiently responds to my rather silly question on the sensible thing to do if one were to bump into the big cat.

Serenade
01/23/2017
Sing like everyone's watching

Rishan Bhatnagar is the first child from India to be a part of the 500 year old Vienna Boys Choir. The ensemble is a renowned group of young male choristers who are an Austrian institution, performing in Vienna and across the world.

The Hindu
05/28/2016
Break forth and sing for joy

Music has always been an integral part of my life. I was an abysmally poor clarinet player, a reasonably good dancer, and a singer with a choir. I was a chorister for five years in school and another five with the Capital City Minstrels (CCM) in Delhi and have been performing in India and abroad for 22 years, with members from across the world.

Reemspeak
ReemSpeak

My blog, which is a humorous (mostly) take on relationships, life and celebrating the ordinary in the extraordinary. Mostly featuring my husband, Siddharth, and my dogs, as muses, the posts also include some travel pieces, interviews, and tribute pieces to my wonderful father who I miss every day.

India Perspectives
11/29/2010
Treasure trail in Shekhawati

Shekhawati is a cultural treasure trove with its frescoed havelis, because of which the area has been dubbed the "largest open air art gallery in the world"

India Today Travel Plus
09/15/2010
Culture curry

A quaint mix of old and new, and filled with art and architecture, Liverpool makes for a great weekend break if you are in London.

India Today
05/01/2009
Springing a surprise

A trip to Wales - utterly surprising and highly recommended.

India Today
03/01/2007
The Sound of Music

Home of Mozart , the Sound of Music, grand architecture and a scenic landscape make for a charming visit to Salzburg

Rough Guide to the World's Best Festivals - World Party
01/01/2007
Holi

Holi, one of India's vibrant festivals, features in this great guide to some of the world's biggest festivals and celebrations

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