Thursday, 30 August 2012

Flash Mobbed!

‘Flash Mob’ a term the average Mumbaikars was oblivious of till they were struck by one on 27th November 2011. Hundreds of young people dancing to the tune of a popular Bollywood song at one of Mumbai’s most prominent landmark – The Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, also one of the busiest train terminals in World, were a sight to behold. What followed was euphoria, with many similar flash mobs being organized by people elsewhere in the country. Well, we can proudly say that Mumbai was the city that popularized the concept of Flash Mobs in India. Discovering Mumbai presents to you ‘Shonan Kothari’ the Mumbai girl who gave us ‘Flash Mobs’ and we are definitely obliged to her!
Shonan Kothari

Monday, 27 August 2012

Welcome to Mumbai

The ‘Maximum City’ – Mumbai, is one of the most vibrant cities that you will come across. Everything about this city is so intense, from the overcrowded public transport system to your usual hangouts like Marine Drive and Chowpatty.  Every experience is magnified a hundred times - Mumbai, it’s always in your face! Life is fast paced; this is no place for the slow and laid back! Sights – seas of people, sounds – every driver is honking for no damn reason, even smells – you know you are in Mumbai the moment you step off that plane/train. Everything is extreme, to the max! If you are a tourist, there are too few places for sightseeing; but there are infinite unique experiences to be relished here. We love our city this way, we were born and raised this way and we don’t want it any other way. But what about foreigners who are planning to move to Mumbai? How must they handle the intensity and extremity of this city?
With this question in mind we set out in search of expats who have recently moved to Mumbai. As luck would have it, we didn’t need to travel far - we found some in blogosphere. Before long we were in a coffee shop having conversation with a British expat couple, Paul andJulia Smith. Paul has been managing a consumer magazine here since February and Julia joined him in June after giving up an accounting job in London. We were very excited to learn about their experiences of Mumbai so far.
Kids trying to make a human pyramid (all pictures are from Julia's blog - BombayJules)
Paul had first visited India in June 2011, on a weeklong business trip slap bang in the middle of monsoon. The heavy and unending downpour did not impress him and he looked forward to the day of his departure. Happily back at his home in London, Julia surprised him with a question, “What if your company asks you to move to India?” But that is exactly what happened - after a few more business trips to Mumbai, his company finally asked him to move to India for a yearlong project. By this point he had already grown to appreciate the city and its people and had started to really enjoy doing business here.  Paul and Julia discussed the move in depth and as they were seeking new life experiences, decided that they would take the plunge.
The first task was for Paul to find accommodation in a nice locality in Mumbai (as Julia was still back home in the UK finishing her contract). After having seen over 80 properties he finally settled for one in Bandra – a neighbourhood that came highly recommended. Even though there are many expats to be found in Bandra it was not this that was the deciding factor. Instead, it was the cosmopolitan atmosphere with the area’s many restaurants and services and the foods to be found on Pali Market that would help them mix a western lifestyle with the Indian experience. After Julia joined her husband in June on a spousal visa, she was determined that she did not want to spend her time dwelling only in the expat community.  So prior to coming out, she arranged a placement with an NGO that works to improve mother and child health and nutrition in underprivileged parts of the city. Julia admits that she doesn’t have any ‘save the world’ ambitions, but working for the NGO provides her with the opportunity to explore the city better, meet local people, understand Indian culture and traditions, whilst also giving something back to the community. “This gives me an insight into aspects of Indian life that you would not otherwise get”.
As a tourist there is not much to see in Mumbai. In London you could go to a new place every day of the year! I was worried that Julia would get bored in Mumbai if she did not work”, says Paul.  Both are very frank to admit that Mumbai was not the first place in the world that sprung to mind for places to relocate to. Maybe they would have preferred New York, Tokyo or Barcelona. However, they had been living in London for a long time and things were becoming a bit predictable. They were seeking change and that was the time that the opportunity to move to Mumbai came along. They did have some worries about climate and sanitation but they were nonetheless very excited to move to Mumbai.  Not only that, they have no regrets.
We were interested in knowing what perceptions they had about Mumbai prior to living here and so we put forth this question to them. “Horrendous!” was the prompt reply that came from Julia. A lot of western perceptions are borne out of the film ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’, (wrongly or rightly). When her friends learnt that she was moving to India, some were impressed but most thought she was crazy! But having been here for two months, she now realizes how wrong some of her perceptions and those of her counterparts back in London were. She now writes a blog called ‘BombayJules’ to change these perceptions. Through the blog she wants to let friends and family back home know about life in India. She says “Every day has something new to write about.  Every day I hear of something fascinating about Indian life or I see a hundred interesting things on the street as I pass by.  Really there is not enough time to write about all of it!”
For Julia, the abrupt change from being a Financial Controller in private sector to a volunteer at an NGO has been a very challenging transition.  The pace of work is different and there are many decision making processes that can delay progress.  However, she still enjoys every minute of it and has great respect for the people surrounding her.  Julia never thought that she would visit a slum after coming to Mumbai, yet due to her work at the NGO, she ended up on a tour of Dharavi on just her third day in the city! Calling it an eye-opener would be an understatement. The experience had a deep effect on her and helped her to realise and communicate to friends and family that Dharavi is a huge enterprise, not just an impoverished home for many thousands of people.
Paul on the other hand has had a completely different experience of work life:  a more modern, corporate and fast paced side of the city. Most of his time is spent at the office or travelling to meetings. Unlike his wife, he has had little time to explore the underbelly of the city and see how the majority lives.  Concerning corporate life, Paul remarks “The management structure here is so vertical, back in UK organizations tend to be more flat. Even though both countries are English speaking, some of the terms, phrases have a completely different meaning in India”. He opines that one has to be very sensitive about religion as it is such a big part of life here and people are so very sensitive about their faiths. Till now they have experienced only one festival – Janmashtmi . They found the experience truly enthralling and they are looking forward to the numerous other festivals lined up in the coming months.
Julia and Paul both already loved Indian food. “Being from Britain we are very much used to Indian food. In fact these days, Indian food is almost the national cuisine of Britain!” One thing that they have noted is that whenever they go out with locals, they will recommend dishes they feel will be suitable for the expat couple, the less spicy ones. “They don’t think we can take it!” says Julia. One of the things Julia loves is the way people come together during their lunch break and share their tiffin. “At lunch time in the UK I tended to go out, grab a sandwich, sit at my computer, have the food and carry on working” says Julia.  However, there is one thing about our eating habits that troubles them a little. They feel it can be difficult to host a dinner party for a group of Indians due to the many eating preferences that we have. “Some eat beef, some don’t. Some eat egg, some don’t. Some are strictly vegetarian. It seems the best thing to do is only eat with one couple at a time!
The fact that a large chunk of population in Mumbai speaks English makes their life a lot easier. However, they admit that is has made them lazy in trying to learn the local languages Hindi and Marathi. Instead they have read quite a few books about the city and Indian life, such as Maximum City, Shantaram, and A Fine Balance. “Mumbai is a very complex city. And I have decided that I will just enjoy it for what it is rather than trying to figure the city out!” says Paul. “It’s such an exciting place, there is so much happening contrary to my initial beliefs”, adds Julia.
Now that they have grown to love the city (the bad and the good parts) they are hoping that they can stay here for a longer duration than originally envisaged. In the meantime, they have plans to do as much travelling as possible, visiting places like Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and at least one tiger reserve. Paul is very keen to see the varied wildlife that India has to offer. They say that having spent time in Mumbai they now feel happy that they are here rather than in New York.  We too hope the couple gets to stay here longer so that they can explore and discover more of Mumbai and India.
You can follow Julia and Paul's journey on her blog - BombayJules

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Young Guns

Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, is a city that gives birth to a many entrepreneurs and successful businessmen. The spirit of entrepreneurship in Mumbai is definitely stronger than any other city in this country; even young graduates from the city dream of and work towards creating successful businesses and companies. The youth of this city is driven by the attitude of creating jobs rather than doing jobs. This is what sets Mumbaikar’s apart from the rest of the country. Today we feature two young Mumbaikar’s who are carrying forward this tradition of entrepreneurship. Supratim Dam and Ria Chauhan, the founders of a creative and innovative media company by the name APWIG.
APWIG – A Place Where Ideas Grow is an end to end media house doing Corporate Films, Design, Digital Media etc. Supratim and Ria came together as a team when they were in college. While working together on several college projects they realized that they made a great team. However, the two come from very different backgrounds. Supratim is from Guwahati whereas Ria is a true Mumbaikar. Supratim is into documentary films and parallel cinema, he is the one who comes up with an idea and also devises the strategies and execution. Ria on the other hand is a painter and visual aesthetics are her prime focus area. Together the two make up a great team, their diverse backgrounds helps in bringing out a lot of different ideas to the table.

APWIG was born out of the need for a job that would justify their skill sets. Both Supratim and Ria have interned at media houses but it was difficult finding a good job after graduation. They felt that they were over-qualified and underpaid for the work that they were doing. The spark that ignited the fire was a call by Supratim, when Ria told him that she wanted a job where she could put all her skills to work, Supratim replied to her with “Create one”. “Our country has the second largest population in the world. There are so many people competing with each other for that one opportunity. The solution we saw was not in wining this competition but in creating more opportunities for ourselves as well as others”, says Ria. Thus was sowed the seed of entrepreneurship which germinated and grew into a full-fledged start-up – APWIG.
Having an idea and even will is one thing, but going out and executing the same requires a lot of hard work and courage. And these guys have had their fair share of challenges like every other start-up. Right from looking for an office, bringing people on board to arranging for logistics, everything was a monumental task. Their biggest challenge, however, was the issue that given their age no one considered them seriously. From CA’s to attorney’s and the initial clients that they approached, all smirked at their age. But the guys kept on working with perseverance, their faith in their abilities and work never dented. They would regularly seek advice from friends and families; every bit of criticism was invited. Professional guidance was avoided as they believe that creativity should not be confined in a set business model.
On the marketing front the team decided to let their work do all the talking. They presented their unique ideas of personalized comic book and videos to a few people, some turned down their ideas; some on the other hand felt that these were the best gifting option ever! They made some videos and put them up on YouTube and there was no looking back afterwards! They use social media diligently for the purpose of visibility, “After all you need people to know that there is a company called APWIG”.
The products which make APWIG unique are ‘personalized comic books’ and ‘gift a video’. For these personalized products they conduct interviews with their clients and try to capture every bit of detail possible. These two products have been receiving great response from customers. People love the idea of having their lives imprinted in a comic book. The videos too are doing well. The personalized touch is the heart of these gifts. A video is a great way to convey your feelings for someone. The good part about these gifting options is that they have a long shelf life. Even after a few years you can pull out that DVD or comic and go through those good old memories. These gifts are eternal and filled with memories which hold a special place in your life. This is what makes these gifts so unique.
There are a lot of plans in the pipeline, but for the time being Supratim and Ria want to take one step at a time. However, they did admit that they visualize themselves making some great documentary films, winning film festivals and having their films aired on BBC. The duo doesn’t let the tag of ‘Entrepreneur’ get to their heads. They know that it’s a big word with a fancy meaning. For them entrepreneurship is much more, it is a path to future leadership. These young entrepreneurs are a motivation for other young graduates to start off their own businesses without worrying about age and experience. “Everyone who tells you it is impossible, or you are too young and in-experienced, prove them wrong. Even 10 years of doing a job does not give you any experience at being an entrepreneur. It’s never too early.” We definitely agree with them! So what the two think about Mumbai – the city that has given them the opportunity to put their ideas into action; “Mumbai is the city of blinding lights, sleepless nights and space crunch fights”.
You can follow APWIG on their Facebook page -
or their Tumblr page -
You can also check out their website for the full range of services that APWIG offers -

Thursday, 16 August 2012

In Chat: Mumbai Tips - Vipul Sodha

You have heard the term ‘Mumbaikar’ being thrown around by almost everyone from politicians to the common man. But what is the definition of ‘Mumbaikar’, who is this ‘Mumbaikar’? Have you ever wondered what makes a person a ‘Mumbaikar’? Well, you don’t need to put on your thinking cap to come up with an answer. Just head to Facebook and look up the page called ‘Mumbai Tips’. There could be no better explanation of a Mumbaikar’s characteristics. ‘Mumbai Tips’ defines the traits that are unique to a ‘Mumbaikar’ in a humorous manner. This amazing page was started by Vipul Sodha, an engineering student and resident of Mumbai with the objective of spreading some smiles among Mumbaikars. Within a short span of time the page has seen a meteoric rise to fame. ‘Discovering Mumbai’ caught with Vipul to talk about his fabulous creation. Here is our brief chat with Vipul Sodha – ‘Mumbai Tips’ -
Hello Vipul, please tell us something about yourself?
I am Vipul Sodha, currently doing my B.Tech From Mukesh Patel  School Of Technology and Management.
Why Mumbai Tips? Whats the objective behind Mumbai tips?
Nothing like objective, it was just started by me to have fun and to spread Smiles.
So how did the idea to start Mumbai tips occur to you?
It was 4th April, 2012 at around 11.45 pm. I finished with my studies for the day and was surfing on Facebook and found that many communities and cities have their own tips page, so I thought of creating Mumbai Tips. People in Mumbai are so busy with their daily schedule that they don’t get a moment to smile. So the main objective behind this page is to display Mumbaikars their own activities in a humorous way. Majority of Mumbaikars on an average use Facebook at least once a day so after reading my tips they get a chance to be proud Mumbaikars!!!
Are these tips your own creations? What makes these tips so popular?
I am born and brought up in Mumbai, so I have experienced each and every tip I publish. Every tip is not my own creation, majority of them are suggested to me by fans of “Mumbai Tips”. You can notice that we give credits to the person who suggested the tip by writing the name of the person at the right hand corner of the tip post. What makes my tips so popular is that it is Mumbaikars own daily activities which I publish in my tips in a humorous way.
What were the initial responses and what is feedback that you receive now?
Frankly speaking, initially in the first two days I didn’t get any response I hardly got around 200 likes in two days but after people started sharing and liking my tips my likes increased to around 1000 likes per day and in 32 days we crossed 30000 fans!
How does it feel having created something so popular?
I never thought that I would get such a huge response. But now that it’s a big hit I feel proud to say that it’s my own creation.

So what are the next steps for Mumbai Tips?
Next step is I am thinking to come out with t-shirts printed with Mumbai tips. I got many offers for advertisements on my page too. But my aim is not to make money through Mumbai tips but to spread smiles.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Just want to convey the message to all Mumbaikars to keep smiling and keep sharing my page.

You can check more tips on the 'Mumbai Tips' Facebook page - or their Twitter account @MumbaiTips

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Rocking the Radio Waves

The vast, lush green expanse of IIT Bombay campus is definitely a place where you can expect to run into great minds. The campus brimming with young minds, best and sharpest of the nation, churns out lots of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial talent is nurtured here and allowed to bloom. The result is students who leave the campus not looking for jobs but for creating jobs. The IIT’s have given India some great minds, leaders and personalities. Keeping this torch burning bright are four students who have recently launched an online radio ‘BC Radio’ or ‘Be the Change Radio’. BC Radio is platform whose vision is to promote Independent music and bands. As of now the radio has an outreach of 750 awesome Indian bands! Discovering Mumbai proudly presents the boys from IIT Bombay who are doing commendable work to popularize Indie music.
Team BC Radio

BC Radio is the creation of a rebel group of musicians from IIT Bombay. These rebels are spread across the country. Music is the common string that binds these creative souls. Having been part of music bands themselves they clearly understand the problems faced by their clientele – the bands; and thus are poised to guide them in a better way. The aim of this group is to bring about a paradigm shift in the way things work in the Indian music scene as of now. Music comes first for these guys, “All of us here at BC Radio are Musicians first, and then engineers”. The guys found each other in college by playing together in various bands. Over the course of time they realized that to listen to good music one need not obsess over the West.  The entrepreneurial culture of the campus, that teaches to ‘create jobs’ rather than ‘getting a job’, ensured that the guys would make a career out of their passion for music.

Having composed their own songs, playing at many gigs and having won at many events the guys began contemplating about their future - "Were we going to live our lives being thinkers, or do something (through what we're good at - technology) that brings the plethora of Indian music to the masses". The answer to this question was a no-brainer. BC Radio was initially unstructured, but it was an idea the team held very close to their hearts, and as more people joined, the idea became more concrete and thus was born BC Radio. “There is so much good music out there in the country and we're just doing what should be done, to give it the platform it has deserved all along”.

The vision of BC Radio is to become a pioneering change agent in the Indian music scene. The independent music scene is very successful, if one looks at it musically. However it suffers at the hands of contracts, as bands have very little knowledge of existing laws and even the nature of these laws is not very conducive for the growth of Indie music. There are very few avenues online to put up your music for sale and if you want to go in for offline distribution then again you have to go through exclusive contracts. The guys at BC Radio believe that the independent music scene needs access to multi-distribution channels and this can be achieved through non-exclusivity. BC radio is not fighting for exclusivity over artists like labels, channels and studios do. They do not stop artists associated with them, to search for other avenues for promoting their music or even earn from them. BC Radio has no exclusivity contracts, no hidden clauses and no ‘terms and conditions applied’. Everything at BC radio is upfront and honest; this is what makes it so fun to work with for bands. The primary objective at BC radio is to provide listeners with a no-nonsense stellar audio visual experience around band’s music; everything else comes later.

Setting up BC Radio was a tough task and the guys went around planning everything meticulously. The team defined their roles based on what they saw as their core strengths, took up time bound responsibilities and steered them to completion. The work done by BC Radio can be summarized into following – Artist Relations, Brand Management, Social Media Engagement, Publicity, Marketing, Tie-ups, Band Affiliations, Parties, Live Shows and Artist Provision. The group didn’t want to limit themselves to online media for promoting their platform and thus ensuring regular features in popular print media was one of the big tasks for the team. So far, BC Radio has been featured in The Hindustan Times, Forbes magazine and Rolling Stones India; with many other prominent publications like The Indian Express and The Tribune in the pipeline

BC Radio’s core team has a vast experience of handing big events and this strength came to their help in the initial days of setting up the radio. The team has organized many concerts like Porcupine Tree, Parikrama, Karnivool, Katatonia, Zero, Thermal and Quarter. They have also handled the very popular Livewire at Mood Indigo and Desh Raag, a unique original patriotic song competition organized by US based NGO ‘Rakshak Foundation’. Their journey took them across the country in search of bands that were just breaking onto the scene. They are very excited about what they came across; the country has many amazing bands and they hope they can have all them on BC Radio! One more important lesson the team learnt was to focus on your goals both in long term and short term.

BC Radio is still in beta phase and the team is looking to roll out some major technical releases this year. The plan is to make BC Radio a cool, no non-sense music discovery platform. Social media integration is another major work in the pipeline; so is the feature to create your own playlists. One of the most popular shows on the radio is the ‘The Pirate Mixtape’ which is a collaboration with the Delhi based BoomBox project. The show airs every Sunday from 3 to 5 PM. Someday down the line they also plan to conduct live events and parties where bands will get an opportunity to perform live.

Team BC Radio is on a high right now. People have found the platform unique and are appreciating the quality of music featured. Biggies of Indian music scene like Parikrama, Demonic Resurrection, Cactus, Theme Clones, Something Relevant and many others have loved the concept and have contributed their material free of cost. The team envisions BC Radio to be a pioneering music – tech platform for independent bands to get featured alongside established names, while maintain their legal rights and non-exclusivity. “Creating and showcasing music should be free of hassles to the musicians and we will make sure it is as smooth as possible”, say the team at BC Radio. Future holds a lot for BC Radio and we will see them featuring into actual radio broadcasting phase and live events. Thanks to BC Radio many good bands will be able to reach out to a larger audience; the audience in turn will be able to discover more independent music; a win-win situation for both. We wish team BC Radio all the best in their endeavours. For now it’s time to listen to some cool music, see you on BC Radio!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Paint the Wall

Remember the days when you were kids, armed with crayons in your hands, you went around trying to paint on anything you could lay your hands on! The whole world was a canvas then. Some of us ruined our walls, well that’s what most parents felt, and then we got a good rap from them. Those were the days! Some never gave up that habit of painting the walls; they grew up wanting to paint walls with their creative ideas. For people like Jas Charanjiva, the entire world is still a canvas. She still has that childlike feeling inside of her, and this is what makes her such a great wall artist. This is the story of how Jas Charanjiva became a successful wall artist and is promoting this modern art form in our city of Mumbai. Let’s paint some walls!
'Smokin is for Villans' - Jas's wall art on Chinchpokli Road, Bandra
Jas was born in Kent County, UK, the same place where her childhood hero Mick Jagger was born. She spent half of her childhood in Toronto, Canada, after which her family moved to California. At the age of 6 she discovered David Bowie, the English pop legend known for his distinctive voice and style. Bowie’s style and his works had a significant impact on Jas; she has named her studio ‘Life on Mars’ after one of Bowie’s songs. “He's so conceptual. Costumes, make up, characters. His music was real cool and later I realized how sophisticated it was and appreciated how ahead of his time he was”, says Jas about her idol. At 12 she discovered the world of street art; she was mesmerized by this style of art. Eventually she ended up making a career in street art.
Jas was introduced to the world of street art at the age of 12, when she got her first professional skateboard. The artwork at the bottom of skateboard caught her eye. She started checking out these skateboard artworks in a popular magazine called Thrasher, a magazine dedicated to skating. Her initial trysts with street art where simple works of chalk on sidewalks. Once on her way back home from school, she wrote names of her favourite bands on the sidewalk with chalk. She did this for about a quarter of a mile before her Mom caught her and reprimanded her for this act! Her first wall art was a recreation of an album cover on the walls of a record shop opposite the Church of John Coltrane. On Sunday’s the church would see huge crowd and she wanted to paint something cool with a message for the people waiting in queue to get inside. Her work, commissioned by the record shop, was only an album cover and she could not put any message on it. However, the urge to paint something meaningful with a cool and witty message got her into further exploring this genre of art. She did some legal and some illegal works in San Francisco, California. Most of her works were messages about people living their lives in a bubble.
Few years ago she moved to Hyderabad, when her husband’s company sent him on a three year project to India. After the project was over they decided to stay back in India. The transition from New York City to Hyderabad was not so bad for her; in fact she found it cool to be somewhere different. The only issue was that street art was in a nascent stage in India and Hyderabad, especially, didn’t have anything worthy to be called a piece of art at the time. Mumbai on the other hand had a fair amount of good street art. In places like Chapel Road, Bandra, there is a waiting list of businesses and shop owners who want their walls painted. “Mumbai streets have some good pieces of art but there's not enough of it. Majority of the best work is from artists outside the country. We have some regular artists that visit often to paint here. Like Rock from France and Loomit from Germany”.
Her first solo show was all about bringing street art indoors. She had a huge room of raw concrete to paint. Jas spent 10 days and nights painting the room. The room was very hot and this inspired her to create the theme ‘Fire wall’ for her solo show. This show launched her as an artist in India. Her second exhibition Diamond Dogs + Super Creeps was inspired by David Bowie’s songs and characters. GQ magazine was coming out with a 6 page article on David Bowie, so the online editor of GQ suggested to Jas that she create some event around Bowie the same month. The show happily sold out.

So what is about street art that makes it so special for Jas? “I love the rawness of it, I love that there's no intention of making money out of it. I love that it's based on the love for it. I love there's an unpredictability to it as in one stumbles upon it and it can be painted over the next day or remain there for years”. She also loves the fact that street art is so smart, clever and sometimes witty. Jas feels that there is still a lot to be done to promote street art here in India. She feels that all the talented artists we have in the city should contribute at least one piece outdoors. People in India get to see so little of street art. When they do come across one, they are amazed, but what they can’t understand is “Why someone would do such a thing for free?”
Having established herself as an artist, she now runs her own studio ‘Life on Mars’. The name is derived from one of David Bowie’s songs about a girl who wonders if there’s life on mars, as she feels that life on earth is all messed up. Like the girl in the song Jas too gets affected by the things happening around her and that’s how the messages in her murals come about. Now she is expanding her work to murals for kids. Most of her current works have angry annoyed characters, so now she has to work on making happy characters. Jas plans to continue her street works in Mumbai and all the places that she is invited to. She is also working on selling original art. She would also like to create a few illustrated books in the future. There are a lot of things she wants to do and she is trying her hand at all of them. Given a chance she would like to collaborate with Buff Monster an artist from US and she would also like to work with the Rolling Stones or Bowie on a project. For the time being we just hope that she does more and more street art around Mumbai. The city needs more artists like Jas to change the face of this city, to make it more beautiful through their art! We hope Jas’s works will inspire other talented beginners to take up street art.
You can check out Jas's exciting artwork at - and

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Mumbai through the lens

Mumbai, ‘the maximum city’, ‘the city that never sleeps’; many names have been given to this beautiful city. It is not just a city of brick and mortar. This city has a soul, a voice; it is alive! Its vibrant, its active, there is something always happening around the corner in this city. Strewn across its vast landscape, in the dingy gallis or out in the open spaces, are hundreds of unique stories, of people and places that may never catch your eye. These little things essentially add up to make Mumbai the unique city that it is. One Mumbaikar is on a mission to ensure that you do not miss out on these little treasures hidden all over the city. Discovering Mumbai presents the story of Gopal, a photographer and photo blogger by hobby who has been capturing every nook and corner of Mumbai through his camera for his project titled ‘MumbaiPaused’.

Mumbai Paused’ is a project started by Gopal, who is a copywriter with a Mumbai based advertising agency. Originally from the southern city of Bangalore, he migrated to Mumbai in 2000 and has been living in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai since then. Gopal is 38 years old, married and has an adorable four year old son. His interest in photography began a few years ago when his wife gifted him a digital camera. Bitten by the shutterbug he started experimenting with photography and would carry his camera wherever he went. It was in Bangalore that he developed an interest in clicking photographs of things happening around the city. While travelling to work on his humble scooty he would stop and click pictures of things which caught his eye.
Urban cemetery
Gopal continued working on his photography and after he moved to Mumbai he continued clicking pictures around town, capturing the city while it went about its daily routine. This is when Mumbai Paused was born. He would click photographs and put them online on his blog. The broad objective of Mumbai Paused was to capture Mumbai streets as they went through changes. Like all migrants he fell in love with the charm of this city. Through Mumbai Paused he was able to push himself out of his comfort zone and go to places he would otherwise not go to. He started exploring the city’s gallis and the not so frequented places which he would never went to if he didn’t have a camera. “I look out for ordinary things that we all see but fail to notice. A camera helps to spot and record them”, says Gopal. To understand what he means you have to go through his blog. You will stumble upon very intriguing and interesting pictures from all over Mumbai, from south Mumbai to the far flung suburbs in north; he has captured every nook and corner of the city in his own distinctive style. His pictures are fascinating and are sure to leave you spell bound. And like us, along the journey; you too will discover a lot of things about Mumbai.

The entire journey has been an enriching experience for Gopal. Along the journey he has made numerous friends and has come across many interesting personalities. It has given him opportunities to shoot images for some of India’s leading newspapers and magazines and also a few international magazines. So far he has not exhibited his work anywhere in Mumbai, but we hope that he does so soon. The city continues to inspire Gopal, and there is so much more out there to capture and present. Gopal wants to continue taking photographs and hopes that he can present at least one story every day. We hope the same too! His photographs are not mere stills, they are alive with a story. Stories that tell something about the city you didn’t know or which you always overlooked. His works provide an insight into what makes the city so special and enigmatic. Saying that Gopal is in love with the city would be an obvious understatement! When asked to summarize Mumbai in one line; this is what he had to say, “Mumbai is the melting pot of Humanity”. Thanks to people like Gopal we are able to see Mumbai in a way we would have never seen it. So stop reading and just head over to his blog right away! - 

You can also follow him on his twitter account - @mumbaipaused