Friday, January 22, 2010

The Mumbai the English left behind

When Ian Seldrup, the Editor of Asian Geographic asked me if I would like to write about the Colonial influence on modern Mumbai, I jumped at the prospect. I knew it was primarily a research based article but it was (at the risk of sounding highly cliched) a 'different' topic from the usual fun travel pieces.

I have lived in this city for over 15 years and shamefully admit that I didn't know half the things i got to know through my research. A learning experience.

First break - Thailand

Early 2009 and I got my first travel article published by Flylite (one of the in-flight magazines of Jet). They wanted to cover a South East Asian destination and I had just returned from a trip to Thailand with some of my friends. Perfect timing. When I look back at this piece, I can see so much scope for improvement but being my first published travel article, it's extremely dear to me.  

In the beginning...

In school I wanted to grow up and become a teacher, more specifically, my English teacher. In college, I wanted to ‘make a difference’ by becoming a journalist. I ended up spending the first five years of my professional life as a Copywriter in a couple of advertising agencies. To say I disliked (hate would be too strong a word) it for four out of those five years would be absolutely correct. I still wonder why it took me that long to realise my calling lay in my true passion – travelling, writing about it and helping others travel. 

I’ve travelled for as long as I remember. First out of compulsion, then to explore and now, because I can’t live without it. It’s like breathing to me. A couple of weeks without visiting a new place and the pangs begin. And a husband who is as greedy about it as I am really helps. 

Why compulsion you ask? Well, my dad was in the Army and moving every 2-3 years to a new place was a given. So I ended up studying in 8 different schools in different parts of the country. But it had its pros and cons. Not only did our postal address change almost every second year, but also my best friend. On the bright side, I got to travel all over the country. And while I hated it at first, I was fortunate enough to experience it.

Today, I travel not because I have to, but because I love to. It’s my passion. I travel…I write about it…I travel some more…I write some more…and life goes on. :) You have to be like a sponge, soaking in all you see, hear and experience. It’s enriching meeting different people, seeing new places and learning about various cultures. So after much persuasion from loved ones and even more procrastination from me, here I am, sharing it all with you. 

This page is a seat next to me in all my travels. See what I saw. Experience what I felt. Discover what I discovered. And where your imagination fails you, there are pictures to help you through. 

The world is a beautiful place and unfortunately one lifetime isn’t enough to see it all. But no harm in trying to cover as much as possible, right? :)