People Called Mumbai :: a journey through Mumbai

Mumbaikars, and non-Mumbaikars, here’s something interesting. A book about the city, more specifically about the People of this city and their relationship with the city. People Called Mumbai :: a journey through Mumbai

Here’s what Nisha Nair Gupta, whose brain child it is, says:

With education and professional experience in design and journalism, I have always been curious about the impact of the history of a place on its design dynamics. I firmly believe that the practise of built environment is strongly rooted in humanities surrounding that space.

And it is this philosophy that conceived the idea of People Called Mumbai – the first publication undertaken by People:Place, an initiative by my firm Design [Variable] in the domain of public and community spaces.

This curatorial work found its origins in a summer workshop held at my office in May 2014. Modelled like a writing workshop, it had architectural interns from several colleges across Mumbai and was held over three weeks.

In the first week, the interns traveled extensively across the city engaging in numerous conversations – more often than not with absolute strangers – and collecting their stories. The next two weeks were dedicated to writing, facilitated by a workshop conducted by Nishita Pereira.

At the end of the workshop, 27 stories from Mumbaikars were penned down. As a greater number of internship applications poured in, ambitions soared. The project was extended by two months and the number of authors grew to 10. Finally, out of the 80 stories that emerged from the nooks and corners of this city, 55 were shortlisted.

Salman Khan – a Victoria driver at the Gateway of India; Vikas Dilawari – a conservation architect; Sudeip Nair – who created the cultural hub called The Hive in Bandra; Amol Apte – a volunteer at the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganpati Mandal every year; Behram Khosravi – owner of the iconic Café Military at Flora Fountain; these are some of the memorable stories that have been woven into this narrative.

The book aims to reach out across a cross-section of people – design professionals and otherwise – who would begin understanding the mapping of the city through a humane narrative. And this would facilitate each of us appreciating the rich heritage of our city and the role played by each community in defining the texture of this massive pot pourri of culture.

The book was selected at INTCESS (International Conference on Education and Social Sciences) – an annual global platform where the best architects of the world come together to discuss innovative ideas to take forward the spectrum. People Called Mumbai was showcased invited as a first-of-its-kind initiative by a practise professional.

Through the book, we have also made a conscious effort to map the city chronologically so as to give the stories a time frame.

And it is these conversations that we intend to take forward via out monthly adda – People:Place at our office in Juhu. Watch out on our facebook and twitter pages to stay updated about the latest going-ons at our end.

I do hope the book takes you on a trail of re-discovering the stories of Mumbai through an architectural lens.

Nisha Nair Gupta,
Principal Architect,
Design [Variable].


We also have three copies of the book as giveaways. Tell us your Mumbai story here in the comment space and three lucky comments will be chosen to receive a copy of the book. India addresses only, the judges decision will be final. Contest closes March 31st.


4 thoughts on “People Called Mumbai :: a journey through Mumbai

  1. Learnt a new way of living in this city. Grew as a person with friends. Became different but did not lose myself. This city has taught me a lot and it will always be my second home.


  2. Mumbai, I made my home and gave me a sense of purpose cum identity as a person. Though not a born Mumbaikar, the city embraced me with open arms and does things to you. You can never remove Mumbai from your life. The post reminds me so much of Cafe Military, sipping coke and enjoying a good breakfast:)


  3. With Cafe Samovar gone, With irani cafes gone, and with metros coming all along, Mumbai wont be the same ever. Mumbai rains wont feel that romantic in absence of cafe samovar

    On a serious note, Its a city that doesn’t judge you by your looks. It just adopts you with open arms and lets you live your life without keeping a constant eye on you. It makes you confident about living life independently and on your own terms.


  4. Mumbai is the best example of old with the new infact even it’s name has changed from Bombay to mumbai . Love the ever changing energy of mumbai it’s a city which takes away your sleep and yet let’s u dream to make it big .


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