On Saturday, Reality Tours in collaboration with BMW Guggenheim (http://www.bmwguggenheimlab.org)- an urban think tank currently in Mumbai to explore how urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs- did a tour of a very different nature! The 26 participants, from Mumbai and abroad, were blindfolded for the full 90 minutes of a custom made tour, which started from the serene park setting of Horniman circle and ended in the equally serene setting of Byculla museum.
The “bit inbetween” was anything but, as the participants were bombarded with different smells such as the chickoos, tea, garlic and meat in Crawford Market, or the freshly made pau bhaji, or dosas in one of the “Khao Gallis” visited- ie street food where they also sampled some of the local delicacies. They also experienced many of the different sounds that one can’t avoid in Mumbai- honking of vehicles, a mosque’s call to prayer, and of course the sound of people, including some telling them to get out of the way!
Each participant had a guide designated to them, and this role was performed admirably by Dharavi’s youngsters, some of whom are or have been part of Reality Gives’ programs. These young men expertly helped their guests on and off buses and trains and pointed off where there were dips in the road or obstacles to avoid.
After the tour, the lab facilitated a feedback session where the participants shared their experiences and they were shown video footage of where they had been; a number of different emotions were expressed but the consensus was that it had been a fascinating experience and that they had felt very safe. Well done to the guys from Dharavi- you did us proud!