TLJConnects: Recalling the simplicity of food
Looking into food’s distinct presence in the memory, and consequently, the oeuvre of BohraSisters, the unique stop-motion making duo
TLJ + BohraSisters
TLJ: So many of your stop-motions involve food. Can you recall a story that’s distinctly inspired one?
BohraSisters: The video we created about the coffee waala uncle! Growing up, we used to visit this shrine in Rajasthan. Right outside it stood this old uncle selling the most delicious coffee at a rupee for a saucer of coffee. He was always there.
But suddenly, one year when we went back he wasn’t. We still think about him every time we visit the shrine—it takes us back to the past and makes us reflect on the sad truth that nothing lasts forever.
TLJ: Is there a distinct food-related memory you have from from your growing up years?
BohraSisters: Our grandfather was diabetic and our grandmother would always have an eye on him to make sure he wouldn’t eat any sweets. But he loved them. We remember how he used to sneak in gulab jamuns in his sherwani pockets! This used to happen at least once a week—he used to take us into his room with the sweets, and we all used to enjoy the jamuns without our grandmother knowing.
He’s passed on now, but this memory has stayed with us.
TLJ: Is there a season or festival that you love because of the food that is available, or made specially, then?
BohraSisters: There are two festivals we love: Bakrid and the Islamic New Year. At the risk of turning away your vegan followers, we have to tell you that we absolutely love the food that’s prepared during Bakrid. Fresh goat meat is divine! We end up eating a lot during that whole week. Actually, our first video was made inspired by this week.
We also love the New Year because of the food. Traditionally, 72 different varieties of dishes are prepared and served in a silver ‘thaal’. One of us lives away from home so struggles to prepare all those many dishes now, but still tries hard to recreate the experience for her kids.
TLJ: Sometimes the best conversations we have tend to be over a meal, or while cooking or prepping for one. Have you both experienced such instances?
BohraSisters: Most of our dinner table conversations with our dad revolved around how food was when he was growing up, or his silly antics, like how' he’d steal aam ke paapad from the store room. He always spoke about how food was much simpler and respected a lot more when he was younger.
It fills us with a teeny bit of regret that our kids will never understand the simplicity that food once had.
Simple seasonal joys: Cool and slurpy ice-gola in the summer, and warm corn-on-the-cob roasted on coals on a rainy day
Afternoon pick-me-ups: Are you feeling more like bun-maska with chai, or cakes with coffee?
Some evergreen saviours: The dabba delivery wala that brings a spark to our office-hours, and the paanwala that helps us cap off a big meal.
BohraSisters are both in their late twenties and neither has had any formal education in art or animation. They are engineers by training (one, a bio-tech engineer and the other, electronics), but found that one of them has a flair and passion for drawing and painting, while the other is a self-taught animator and designer. Follow their work here.