Tires screeched across the runway, suitcases were dropped and spirits rose to all time high; as a journey through the city of dreams, the city which never sleeps commenced with one purpose – the purpose to discover Mumbai. To feel the soul of the city, even so if only in 24 hours. And speaking of the soul of the city – South Mumbai.
We started our journey at what sounded less like an accommodationfor the night and more like a revolutionary camp – The Salvation Army. A lodge that evidently supported 342 patrons at relatively inexpensive rates. Now anywhere else in the world something called the Salvation Army with cheap rates would mean anything, but a honest venture. However, in a City like Mumbai, this quite honestly is the kind of thing we live for. Don’t we? Regardless, coming to the tour.
Now, I would not claim to have started of the event in the most monumental fashion. So, I’ll just go ahead and narrate and leave the adjectives to your interpretation. Members of AIESEC in Mumbai with a number of locals surrounded the street outside the “Salvation Army” as delegates rushed through a passage within the crowd bearing the colors of they’re respective nations. Chants were screamed and songs were sung as the representatives from all around the globe made their assemblageadjacent to the malignant crowd.
Not too much later after we assembled, we were graced with the presence of our guides from Incredible India. Four women who possessed an uncanny amount of knowledge of the area, and with who our journey then began.We walked through the Gateway of India still enjoying the light drizzle of the monsoon rain giving life to the early faces of the tired travellers. We walked through the city as we turned pages through the book that documented the entire of the British Raj. We saw the architecture that had little changed from it over the years of the nations independence. Golden brown brick walls filling the canvas of a pale morning city in every direction. The tour went through Horniman Circle, the flora fountain, the old Air India building and also the infamous Victoria Terminus Station. We went through piece by piece through the building blocks of what makes Mumbai “Mumbai” as our guides made certain that we lived through the architecture piece by piece.
At Nariman point what started as a tour then ended as a journey that worlds would truly do little justice to. As we gathered around forming a cloud of multi ethnical humanity, our guides bid us adieu and left us with nothing more than sweet memories. However, sweet memories do not fill hungry stomachs – For that we decided to pay homage to Bademiyas, or what I would like to call the meat capital of the city to end our morning.
After an hours worth of a cool down of mornings events it was time to head to the main event of the day, the Global Village – And City’s largest ever one at that, for which we travelled to the suburbs at the humungous FM banquet. The internationals entered and immediately set up their stalls with flags, food and souvenirs of their nation. After a lot more of song and a decent number of cultural performances along with 30 different countries with the likes of Egypt, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, USA, China, Taiwan, Netherlands, Turkey, Colombia and many more being showcased to 400 students from across Mumbai, we were graced with a man well known for his credentials behind a casting crew than a travel ticket, but none the less a tremendous traveller in his own right – Raghu Ram. Raghu spoke about the part travel played on his life and helped shape him into the type of person he is today. We listened, we contemplated and we understood, not too much sooner than we started with the singing, dancing and embracing each others cultures once more, making every person in the room live one of our most key Organizational value- Living In Diversity.
The evening ended with tired feet, but joyous minds and a lot of happy faces.. Mumbai’s largest Global Village had ended. We showed them Mumbai in all its shades and moods with as much as we could squeeze into the course of 16 hours. Have we made history? Have we created something for the years to come? Or have we done something unprecedented? – We are sure we have, since we believe in acting sustainably in AIESEC and as we have just made our first batch of guests of the city with about 400 natives extremely happy, we shall be back with a Bigger and Better Discover Mumbai Weekender next year!
Watch event in Video
Written By: Neville Roy Pinto
Photo Credits: IndraneelShelar Photography