My guide, Harshvardhan Tanwar (Harsh for short), shows me his Bombay. “Mumbai is a city, Bombay is an emotion,” he says. We visit the docks at dawn and watch women haggle for baskets of Bombay duck, which is, in fact, a lizardfish. We meet the city’s dabbawallas, a network of men who pick up Mumbaikar’s lunch boxes from home and deliver them to their offices.
"Along with his Worli Village Walk, this is also extremely popular with foreign guests who seem to have finally found more to do in the city than a day-trip to Elephanta Caves. But while we enjoy getting our food farm fresh, often home delivered, we seldom give a second thought to where our food may be coming from, which makes this tour just as eye-opening for a Mumbaiite."
"The sight that meets me is completely magical. Giant boat upon boat fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle, hemming each other in lit by strings of small lights looking very Christmassy. The decks are covered in mountainous piles of different fish, men crouch silently sorting the fish by hand, throwing each onto the correct pile, barely looking as they work. They know these fish so well by the feel of the shape and scales."
"We have been budget travellers all our lives and have greatly benefitted from the free guided tours around the world. There is no better way to learn about the history of a place. And, we thought it’s about time Mumbai had its own. There are several heritage tours in the city but they come at a price. And most locals would not want to burn a hole in their pockets. Also, the fact remains that as locals too, we have a lot to learn."