Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Woohoo, I'm on national TV!

This morning NDTV 24 x 7 covered Mumbai Local, a new tour that I launched this season.

It is a tour with a difference - because it takes tourists out of the comfort zone of private cars and airconditioned buses. On the Mumbai Local tour, tourists get an inside view of Mumbai by going on our iconic red BEST buses, black-and-yellow taxis, and of course, our famous local trains. The tour starts at the Gateway of India, and covers all the "must-see" places in the city - but in a way that's guaranteed to show you the "real" Mumbai! To round it off, it includes tea and snacks at Swati Snacks, where tourists get an introduction to Mumbai's special brand of fast food.

The guides for this tour are special too. They are a group of teenagers, from Akanksha Foundation, who we trained for 3 months to do this tour. Akanksha helps children from disadvantaged families, several of them from small chawls and slums. I've been supporting Akanksha through donations, but I figured asking Akanksha kids to become guides on this tour would be a better than just offering financial help. Here's a tour in progress:

The two girls on the right are guides. They both come from poor families, but have completed school, and are now in college. I want these teenagers to show visitors the city as they see it everyday – home to both the rich and the poor, alive and vibrant, and constantly on the move. I'm hoping that seeing the city through the eyes of these young guides will give tourists an insight into the true spirit of Mumbai.

For the guides too, the tours are an opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world, to learn new things, and to see the world a little differently. There are five guides - four girls and one boy - the tours give them an opportunity not just to earn pocket money or supplement their family income, but also to learn how to handle a wide range of situations. They are growing increasingly confident with each tour, so I am personally very happy.

NDTV interviewed me as well, and I spouted some nonsense about the tour - I didn't fumble, thank God. They told me later I was "a natural". I should've dressed for the interview, of course, instead of showing up in my oldest T-shirt and cargo pants. I thought I'd play it cool, you see? So there I was, on national TV, faded Tshirt, streaked kajal and limp hair, and looking like a small sized blimp. Sigh. So much for playing it cool. I don't dare post a photo, but the video is here on the NDTV site.

16 comments:

Blogeswari said...

That's really cool, deepa! is the feature online? do post link.

T

Deepa Krishnan said...

Ok, I posted a link to the video.

Sally said...

Great clip, congratulations, it's really well done

Sally said...

Great link, congratulations, it's really well done

Minute Off said...

fantastic, congrats, I just saw the video. The tour idea is pretty good, but the real genius I think i getting the girls and boys to give the tours. I'm sure they add lots of little anecdotes here and there. What's best is that which ever angle you look at it from this tour Contributes which is very important. You contribute to Mumbai, your customers, the places you take them, to the tour guides and yourself and your brand. Oh and let's not forget NDTV. Well done, it's lovely to see you doing so well.

Sujata Patil said...

Hey Deepa,
Great going! The clip is interesting enough to tempt me to take the tour myself (although I have experienced the local transport in Mumbai already!).
All the best for a roaring success of this tour...

Sujata

Rada said...

What a brilliant idea!

Saw the clip. And NDTV is right. You're a natural!

Keep up the good work!

CanisLupus said...

Sweet!!!!!

Ackworth Born said...

watched the video clip and thoroughly enjoyed it - if I were younger and visiting Mumbai (or anywhere else really) this is the kind of tour I'd love to take - with local people using local transport.

venkat said...

nice work!

Compulsive Dreamer said...

Really nice... I like the fact that these tours give these girls and boys an opportunity to earn money as well as learn so much about their home city...

Subra said...

Very neat! This is indeed quite unique.

Subra

Amit Wadkar said...

This is nice and congratz...

Shobna said...

Deepa,

Great to see you've included the local travel exprience. It's integral to the city.

You looked cool, forget about the other adjectives, they don't apply.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Maybe you'll could start something for localities too.
- www.mindlessmumbai.com/blog

Heather said...

I would most definitely like to plan a "real Mumbai" tour with you when the time comes for my family and I to come to Mumbai!!!

Heather in Denver/Colorado/USA

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