The Vision of Iris

The World Through My Eyes



Happier days- I’M PUBLISHED

The last two weeks have been pretty great for me, and I’ve decided to share my news with my readers. As part of my Journalism course (again) we are required to put together a freelance portfolio. This actually made me fairly uneasy because all I could think was,  who on Earth would publish my stuff? I am a student, and I know I haven’t reached my writing capacity yet. So I started to ask myself, do I even want my work published right now? But then it occurred to me that my best pieces are usually about things I am passionate about. One being people and their love for what they do. I love writing about happy, successful people.

I then proceeded to send a pitch to four newspapers in my hometown, Durban. All four of these newspapers we grew up reading as children, and my parents still subscribe to them. So it was a long shot, but I gave it a go anyway. To my surprise, my piece on Iqraam Rahim was accepted by TWO newspapers and published in the same week. I was beaming with excitement all week! I am not really one for the mushy stuff, but this made my family so proud and it made me feel accomplished, I prayed night after night that this works out and it did!

I know some people might be like yeah it is just an article, but from day I decided to study Journalism, so many people were telling me that I am wasting my time because everything is online and I will never get anything in an actual newspaper. WELL!!! 😀

Moral of the story; self-doubt is okay, but don’t dwell on it. You’re always worth something to someone, even if you can’t see it yourself.


All that jazz, and more

It is an open space where the soul is crawling with specks of luminosity and the eyes burst like a mirage between the setting sun and serene sea.  The wooden floor trembles with the rhythm from the dancer’s feet, following their instructor, step by step, hand in hand. Their heartbeats drumming within their ears as each stentorian moment passes. Droplets of sweat heavily invading their unsullied eyes are a welcomed addition to the fusion of emotions.
Their faces light up with exhilaration as they are praised for their hard work.  After hours of taking in what felt like music transformed into fluid adrenaline, a class full of teenagers runs towards their water bottles in an attempt to revitalize, and the room fills with invigorated voices. The dance instructor sits at the edge of the stage as he gapes at his masterpiece come together; no, this is not the success of the elegantly choreographed movements. This masterpiece is the rhapsodies of delight that the dance brings to his students; the untainted enthusiasm in their faces together with bonds created through the inception of what might become a lifelong passion. This is the masterpiece delicately forged by Iqraam Rahim.

Iqraam Rahim having an expressive moment with his dance class. Photo sourced from: Joe Khan

Self-expression can manifest through many channels, but one that many are accustomed to is dance.  Dance has played a culminating role in the moulding of human beings over the years, be it professional, recreational or even religious; it is an eminent and favored avenue for self-expression.  Iqraam Rahim, a master of movement, has been submerged in the art of dance for 22 years.  A familiar face to the city of Durban, Rahim began reinforcing his passion for the rhythm of movement based on his natural impulsion to music but, as he grew older, this passion emerged as a positive reinforcement in his life.

Dance radiates passion and passion is food for the soul. We flourish through our passion, so how serendipitous is it to live in a world where our passion can merge into our occupation and better yet, our expression?

“Self expression is the ability to be true to one’s unique self”, explains Rahim. To him, dance as his personal expression, is an unconscious materialisation of euphoria that is grounded on a state of comfort and familiarity.

Rahim with a fellow dancer in what he considers his happy place. Photo sourced from: Facebook

Anyone can learn the art of dance, but there are only a few who can devote their heart to the steps they take. It is this that we call giving voice to what we know. Expression can be unintentional; there are ventures that we devote ourselves to which could have no ardent meaning until we give it a voice, a piece of our soul.

Rahim is the sole owner of Rampage, a company and school that has flourished through his adoration for dance. It aims to empower those with a regard for dance and opens its doors for those old and young, in search of a swing in their step. “Being a teacher of dance also falls within the way I choose to express myself because I feel an instant compulsion to encourage the individual growth of my students”, says Rahim. Sharing knowledge with another person is a sacred relationship. He continued to explain that when his students have reached their rightful state of growth, the pride he feels is much like the gratification a father feels towards his child.

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Sharing the stage with his students during a performance. Photo sourced from: Joe Khan

Expression in dance is intertwined in our lives even in light hearted ways. Have you ever heard someone say “There’s no need to make a song and dance about it”? This is an informal phrase that reflects the expression one stimulates through dance. It might not be literal dance it is used to articulate a meaning of expression through a witty metaphor.

Rahim agrees that dance is central to the way numerous individual choose to express themselves, whether it is at a club on a Saturday night or your version of a 9-5 occupation; dance is movement with meaning.

This Way to ‘I do’- Whimsical Wedding

This Way to ‘I do’- Sangeet Sensations

This Way To ‘I Do’- Let’s Get Jiggy With It (Part 4)


The wedding weekend has just flashed passed us. It feels like it hasn’t even happened yet. When you are actively involved in such a mountainous event, there is such a long list of things to be done that actually immersing yourself in the function becomes impossible. Nevertheless, we had an unforgettable time marking the marriage of Vivek and Kashmir.

The Vision of Iris was slightly absent through it all, but I tried to keep you all updated as much as possible in the middle of pick ups, hair, make up, setting up and so much more.

My mother and I had innumerable arguments about me sitting on my laptop in the middle of the day while there was work to be done, so yes- I tried! But now that the rush is all over, I have gathered and accumulated so much to share with you all, from parents to pups- I have it all!


The newly weds are off to their honeymoon and according to Vivek, this is where his work begins!

The Sangeet (our night of dance) was so exquisite and ravishing, everyone had a blast. The theme was a Royal Rajasthani Affair.


The set up was enchanting and the moment we walked in, it felt like we were teleported to the middle of Rajasthan. This is exactly what Kashmir wanted for her guests. All we really wanted was a fun night that brought everyone together- that is exactly what we had.


The dances went off smoothly, and everyone, young and old took part in the festivities.

The background– Dancing has always been such a dominant factor in our family. Both my sisters are qualified Kathak dancers (a North Indian classical dance form) Kajal and Kashmir have both been dancing from age 9 and 6, and since then, dance has been what makes us who we are.

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Every time you see a dancer dance, you see them in the best version of themselves. Albert Einstein once said, “We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams- we are the dancers; we create the dreams.” This embodies the life of a dancer, and the passion a dancer holds within. Kashmir wanted nothing more than to celebrate her marriage with her passion.

Our family commends my parents for pushing their daughters in the direction of dance, and from a very young age, every family function has adopted a dance aspect to light up the evening and ignite the celebrations.

The production- Kajal, my eldest sister could be defined (in the conventional sense) as Kashmir’s maid of honor. So it was her duty to rally up the troops and construct a group of dancers from our enthusiastic and talented family. In the space of three weeks, she had convinced a group of doctors, businessmen, busy students, and the young to help us put on a show for the rest of our family.




Rehearsals were full of laughter and fun (well, according to my family. I wasn’t there 😦 ) Even after a few beers on a chilled Sunday afternoon, they still got jiggy with it and had a blast!


Kajal had no doubt that it would be a victory for us. And it was! Together with our dancer friends, they managed to put together a performance that could’ve almost been a professional show.



The result was exactly what we intended for, it brought everyone together, even after the dances, the spirit lingered and filled the room with a fire that burned inside of everyone to party on!

The power dance had on our family left us speechless, the fun we had at the Sangeet still lingered on the lips of everyone even days after!

P.S- To add to the beautiful theme, we had a prop filled photo booth with Rajasthani props.

These are some of the fun pictures!

This Way To ‘I Do’- So Much To Say, So Little Time (Part 3)

I am typing this at 1:24am, 3/20/2016. My feet are aching and I just need some sleep…


We just finished off at our first major function. The Sangeet. Thanks to my niece and nephew who were our mc’s for the night, I learnt that Sangeet means dance, concert and singing together. It originates from the Sankrit word Sangeetha.

This was a night full of colour and dance, but to be honest- Kashmir and I have just been discussing what a blur it all is to us! The night went by so fast, and six hours felt more like two. But, we all know the feeling when time flies by whilst having fun, maybe this was just it.

This night was magical beyond words. Our rehearsals paid off, and learning my dances via video while in Grahamstown wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

There will defiantly be more about this night up soon, but for now- we are focusing on something a little more current.



The Saturday morning was the Hurdee (or Haldi). A Hurdee in Hindu traditions takes place the day before the wedding. During this, the bride is smothered with a ‘hurdee’ paste, which consists of turmeric, rose water, and in our case, sandalwood.



The purpose of this is to clean the bride to be. It is believed to have the power to cleanse the soul, and mind- before the bride is ready to reach married life. Some might say it is just to give the bride a lovely glow, but there is a deeper meaning behind it.

In older traditional weddings, the Hurdee would serve as a sort of protection, so once the bride to be has been covered in it- she cannot leave the house. But now with changing times, circumstances have advanced and much like Kashmir, some brides choose to have a function afterwards (which means they most probably will leave the house to go to the function venue!)

Kashmir decided that instead of making an entire function out of this, she would perform the prayers and the Hurdee ceremony at home, the day before her wedding. And in the evening, we will celebrate by sharing a night of dance with the ones we love, as we have.

It is such a lovely process, and the day after- the bride ACTUALLY has a beautiful glow! In most families, the process starts with a little prayer and then ladies go up in groups  of five or seven and massage this paste onto the bride and complete a series of prayers during and after. It is a fun and interesting pre-wedding ritual which I will definitely touch on further after the wedding rush.

By the time I post this, the wedding would’ve already passed, which would explain the slight lack of intensity in this post. But, once things have settled I will be deconstructing the wedding weekend and all the shared elements before and after.

I have about three hours of sleep before the BIG DAY! Ciao.


This Way To ‘I Do’- The Essence of Marriage (Part 2)

This Week
It has been ten long days since the first part of the journey. I didn’t think I’d make you guys wait this long BUT it has been a crazy week with many ups and downs. The moment I landed in Durban on Saturday, I went straight to a dance rehearsal and since that moment, it has been a jam packed week!

The past few days wasn’t just bursts of fun, it was also a test for my family emotionally and it really proved our strength to keep it together even in the toughest times. The admiration I have for my mom, dad and both my sisters is constantly growing with each day we tackle together.

Today marks the beginning of the four day celebration. And I have decided to start off this weekend with my first video! This was an intimate interview with both the bride and groom. The questions were based on their opinions on marriage itself.

Kashmir and Vivek are such different personalties and their answers really resonate within by bringing their differences together to become one!

A special thanks to my cousin Akira for assistance with the production of this little video.
To follow the journey a day at a time, add me on SnapChat- KhinaliB or follow me on Instagram @khinalibagwandeen

Bollywood Baby

Will the real SRK please stand up??


Yes, huge Bollywood baby right here. And for those of you who aren’t conversant with the term Bollywood, it is the Indian version of Hollywood and you might be familiar with names like Aishwariya Rai or Sharuk Khan, and now with changing times (the purpose of this post) Priyanka Chopra.

Now, the essence of Bollywood brings love in every single form to your screen. Many people would condescendingly describe a Bollywood movie as a love story where couples dance around trees and break out into song. WHO LIED TO YOU? I absolutely loathe that description. Being someone who has grown up with a sister who has been bolly-cray, I can safely say I have watched 100’s of Bolly movies, some of which are WAY before my time, so trust me when I say, it is not merely that airheaded description.


Bollywood is full of beauty, passion, love, sadness, transformation, colour, dance, life and everything else that could make you fall in-love with this world of film. After Hollywood, Bollywood is the next largest film industry, yet it has received limited amount of attention from international audiences with little or no Indian background.

When I was younger, I always looked to Bollywood movies as a way to make me feel good. If ever I was upset or having a bad day, I knew any Bollywood movie from my families collection would bring a combination of tears and laughs to my day. I could watch the same movie one hundred times and not be bored of it. The songs would never die out, and every movie had a minimum of 5 songs which were are magnificently composed and created a hurricane of emotions running through your body.


Being brought up in a family of dancers, the dancing in these movies played a major role in my life. I loved watching the characters express their emotions in an over-choreographed and unrealistic dance sequence that made you want to get up from your seat and join in (But I never did)


Unlike Hollywood, there happens to be a small base of actors with diverse skills who manage to capture your heart again and again.

Bollywood has changed. Bollywood doesn’t make me happy anymore. Bollywood is trying to be Hollywood. Bollywood is NOT Bollywood.

Do you know that feeling when you think you know someone really well, and you have your entire friendship mapped out, because YOU know everything about this person, and then suddenly they change. You’re confused. Were you just blind? You’re questioning everything. Did I do something wrong?

Well, being one to sit around continuing with my antisocial behavior, this is how I felt when Bollywood changed. I was experiencing the ‘I thought I knew you’.

There have been attempts to bring back old Bolly, but directors such as Sanjay Leela-Bansali and Rohit Shetty just proved to me that such as Shakespeare, Bollywood is dead.


And I am not happy.

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