Stories hide behind silent faces. Mumbai is a city of millions of silent faces and their million stories, which unfold only through the sensitivity of a storyteller. Humans of Bombay, a Facebook page, was started with this aspiration to bring out the extraordinary stories behind everyday lives.
The journey began on Marine Drive when one Sunday in 2014, Karishma Mehta began her interviews. Pic/Atul Kamble
The founder of the page, Karishma Mehta, says it began one Sunday morning two years ago, when she called up a photographer friend and tried interviewing people on Marine Drive. After being refused by many, an old lady agreed to talk and the page began.
Karishma Mehta, founder of Humans of Bombay
From then on, several people have featured on the page with stories about economic hardships, homosexuality, inter-caste love, exploitation and even abuse. With each story, the popularity of the page soared and it now has over 600,000 followers.
Despite being inspired by the Humans of New York page, Humans of Bombay stood apart in its character and style and the way it interviewed its subjects, delving into long back stories bring out a cultural essence that is uniquely Mumbai’s. However, like Humans of New York, the team behind the Bombay page also decided to come out with a book with their stories and photographs last month. The response, Mehta says, has been overwhelming. “We have sold several copies and the feedback has been only positive. Some readers said they finished the entire book in one sitting and are eagerly looking forward to the next book,” she says.
Zaaria Patni will be interviewed live at the event
But before the next copy is out, Humans of Bombay will go live for its followers. The team will have a reading session at Ministry of New at Kitab Mahal. Apart from reading out stories, Mehta will interview one person whose story was already shared on the page and one person from the audience.
“I will interview one person whose story I shared in October 2015. She had married very early at the age of 19 with a man who she thought was perfect. But it turned out a nightmare and she was subjected to brutal physical and mental abuse. She talks about her long journey of divorce and all the cases she had to fight. And about her son,” Mehta says. The other person, she says, will be picked from the audience, and she is looking forward to surprise of another story.
Though the seats are full now, she says there will be a buffer for people who turn up on the day. Moreover, the team is planning to make it a once-in-two-weeks affair given the good response.
On: June 16, 6.30 pm
At: Ministry of New, 92, Kitab Mahal, third Floor, Dadabhai Naoroji Road, Fort.