Mumbai: Two NRIs take podcast route to tell what's desi but firang
Two young NRIs from England have taken the podcast route to tell us all what it means to be desi but firang in Mumbai
Krishna Khunti and Danny Sura have a lot more in common than good looks. Both were born in England to Indian parents, moved to Mumbai in 2011 and are in love with the city. But, as is often the case with love, it is fraught with challenges. "When I was in the UK, I had heard stories of Mumbai. I thought I was prepared for anything that would be thrown at me. Now, I can safely say, I was wrong," laughs Khunti, a wellness expert. Sura, an aspiring actor, has been filming short video diaries to document his experiences.
Their life stories are now part of Talking Brits in Bom, a JioSaavn Original podcast. Launched last week, the 30-minute episodes provide an indepth insight into what it means to be an NRI in this city. Through anecdotes, they discuss the real deal but with the necessary dose of humour. Sura recalls his first audition here, which was a far cry from the way it was conducted in England, he says. "There, you have an appointment and it's done on a one-to-one basis. Here, there are 80 other people waiting in the queue. You enter the room and it's full of people who aren't needed there in the first place."
At one such audition, Sura shocked those in the room when he stopped suddenly reciting his lines. "There were two men beside me who were talking endlessly. I politely offered to wait till they finished their conversation," he says. The episodes deal with bureaucracy and house hunting to getting an Aadhaar card made, and dating. For Sura, there have been many 'firsts' in the last eight years. For starters, she's never been duped as many times in London as she has here. "That includes everybody, from the vegetable vendor to the rickshaw driver. Apparently, it wasn't my accent that gave me away, but my appearance. It seems I had 'take me for a ride' written on my face." The experience drove home the relevance of her mother's advice. "When I was moving out, she said, 'Don't be too polite because people will walk all over you'."
There was novelty even when it came to dating. "In England, you are either in a relationship or not. The romance scene here is all grey. You're dating but not exclusive, or you're married but still open." Although the two have known each other since their London days, it's only now that they can call themselves good friends. It's over a cup of coffee that they decided to approach the streaming service with the idea. Their chemistry helped clinch the deal.
"The idea was brewing in my head for long. Sometimes, when I go back to London, I am asked ignorant questions about the country, like whether we saw elephants on the road. The podcast is also a way of dispelling those myths," she says. Sura, meanwhile, is trying to integrate with the Lokhandwala crowd. "When I set up home in Versova, I was told it's the land of strugglers. I didn't know what they meant until I saw beefy men with unbuttoned shirts strutting about coffee shops." For now, both have a lifetime-worth of content to discuss in the podcast but are taking it slow and steady. Khunti thinks that's the beauty of Mumbai. "You never run out of stories to tell."
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