Who's the Kimayagar of Bombay?
Trace the life of a legendary Marwari businessman through SoBo's iconic landmarks at an adventurous midnight storytelling-cum-cycling tour this weekend
Priyanka and Priyank Deshmukh with Yogesh Chande at The Gateway of India, a stopover on the trail. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Back in 1800s, when Bombay was still a quaint trading town under the East India Company, a young Marwari boy travelled from Surat to this commercial hub to earn his living. At that time, little did he realise that he would go on to become the city's richest businessman, turning Mumbai into the 'mayanagri' that it is known as today. While many called him the Kimayagar (Marathi: magician) of Bombay, considering his prowess to make money out of anything, he also ended up becoming a much-hated man. Does the 'hero' sound straight out of a fiction novel? Well, he isn't. If you're keen to know more about the mysterious gentleman, starting with his name, embark on a midnight storytelling and cycle tour with Priyank Deshmukh and Yogesh Chande this Saturday.
The 29-year-old duo, along with Priyank's wife Priyanka, comprises the newly-formed travel-storytelling company, The Legend Of Bombay Bards. "For the past four months, we've been conducting this trail for our friends. Since we received positive feedback, we decided to open it to the public," says Yogesh, who knows Priyank from engineering days at KJ Somaiya.
An architecturally impressive building near Horniman Circle. Pic courtesy/Ten Heritage Walks Of Mumbai
While they hold full-time jobs, it was their passion for storytelling and history that led to The Legend Of Bombay Bards. "Most of us remember places because of the stories of people associated with them. Such a trail helps the guests reconnect with landmarks in a different way," he says. When we prod him to reveal the name of the story's hero, he clams up, "It will ruin the suspense."
Starting from CST, the eight-kilometre trail (open to 15 guests) will cover six stops, including Horniman Circle, Mumbai University, The Gateway Of India, and end at Marine Drive. "Each halt will help us trace the gentleman's life as he was associated with all these landmarks. But it's not easy to find information on him. Though he did a lot for society, not a single street is named after him. We visited roadside bookstalls in Fort and Dadar for research," shares Yogesh. They plan to host storytelling trails across Mumbai every fortnight.
ON: April 8, 10 pm to 1 am
MEETING POINT: Outside CST station (cycles will be provided)
LOG ON TO: http://bit.ly/2oBCbiS
COST: Rs 799
If you're wondering who the gentleman is, here are a few clues:
- He was responsible for helping construct the tallest building in Mumbai back in the 1800s
- His home in South Mumbai has been donated to an orphanage