Levitating Meghna

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She may not defy gravity.

But her lifestyle store, Levitate, does defy the conventional shopping experience. Swing past the doors of 93 Residency, take up the flight of stairs leading to the first floor and you reach a cul de sac. Before long, you realise it’s your last stop for all things unique: from silk tie up bustiers and one-piece finger rings to reversible skirts and neon bead chains (much of it is for women’s only, if you haven’t figured it out already).

And that’s again with a string attached. “My shop is not for everybody,” says Meghna Khanna, the 24-year-old behind the enterprise. “It’s only for those who want to rise above the mundane… I am not selling to people who say it’s junk.”

Khanna also sells funky paintings that glow in UV light (one is right behind her in the picture above). Adding character Lampshades are her other objects of desire. “It gives character to people’s homes,” she says.

That’s not all. She sells a lifestyle as a style consultant, too. “I do up people’s homes,” she says. “The term’s budget homes.” And this, after speaking with corporate heads and truck drivers for the qualitative research department of Nelson Sofres Mode in Mumbai. “The job gave me an insight into many industries without being a part of it. But this is more me, a businessperson selling an attitude I would love to.”

Bangalore happened after ‘a process of elimination’. “I came on a holiday twice and decided to move in here,” she says. “I always like doing something that’s different, like riding an Enfield for example. That’s because I have grown up with the boys, gilli danda and cricket.”

But she’s not a party person. “I don’t like crowded places,” she says, sitting in her little kingdom, that has just about space to accommodate a dozen people. “Riding on the highway, trekking, reading and travelling is more like it.”

And she loves the bazaars. “Chikpet is my favourite exploration centres in Bangalore,” she says. “I have lived in Jodhpur, so I know the thrill of walking on the street and soaking in the rustic ambience.”

Now if she is flitting from Benaras to Manali or Delhi to Rajasthan, it’s on work and pleasure. “I have bought a little bit of everything for my shop because I don’t know what will sell. My next trip in February or March will be more focussed. Nothing is from Bangalore and everything I have is one piece.”

And she has no regrets. “I want to be the been there, done that girl. I don’t want to grow old and say I could have done it. There’s no other time like here and now.” (She has worn belly studs; eyebrow rings.)

Charpai in a bottle, suede leather pouch, wrist moneybag, ashtrays made of coconut shells, vanilla incense sticks, handmade paper notebooks, nose pins, floor mats, wood and neon beads, bikini tops… if it sounds like one hell of a cattle fair, it is. And that’s what Khanna’s Levitate all about.

And do her genes have any hand in it? “Yes, I have inherited a sense of aesthetics from my Bengali mother and humour from my Punjabi father.”

Worth checking out, you think?

MBA, Symbiosis institute, Pune
Born in Hyderabad
Proprietor of Levitate, a trendy boutique
First job at Nelson Sofres Mode, Mumbai
A Bengali mother and a Punjabi father
Catchword: live for the moment
Also a style consultant doing up people’s homes

(Published in City Reporter, 2003)