Dharavi, a popular part of the city. Popular with respect to being a slum, an epitome of dirt, garbage and every thing which is not acceptable by the humans who live in this sophisticated city. But Dharavi is not what it actually looks like, it has stories to tell and many hidden treasures yet to be discovered. And to blow this dust away, the team of Be The Local Tours has been successful. They have showed the people out there of how Dharavi looks like through the eyes of these inhabitants. Lets look on to what the two trend setters, Fahim and Tauseef have to share with us.
My(Fahim) father was a proprietor of Kirana store in Dharavi, basically this is our family business my whole family uncle, cousin etc all have their Kirana shop.My grand father migrated from Gujarat during the British era he used to work in his relatives kiranas(grocery) shop and slowly he started his own shop and settled in Mumbai (Dharavi) and called his whole family.
Tauseef father migrated in Mumbai (Dharavi) and he started working in Raw leather Industry and then slowly he started supplying leather at very small scale to Industrialist. Tauseef has completed in Bachelor in Physics from Khalsa College. And I am studying in my final year to complete my bachelor of Commerce which I failed twice this October will be my third attempt, hope fully I will clear this time.
Tell us more about Be The Local Tours
We started Be The Local tours in March 2010, at that time I was in my second year to complete my Bachelor in Commerce and Tauseef was in first year in bachelor of Science.
We had our first office in my Uncle’s kirana shop godown. We used to get guest through distributing pamphlets in tourist area ten we realised and made BTL website. During the process of distributing pamphlet we met a very good man Govind Gurung (Tout at Gateway) he was much experienced and and had huge contact, then we partnered with Govind sir and started our office in Colaba, we learned a lot from him, unfortunately within a year he died because of brain tumour. Then we again came back to Dharavi but still we were not that experienced nor we used to have a fruitful business.
Deepa Krishnan owner of ‘Magic tours of India’ whom we met long time before, she use to help us by giving us some of their Dharavi tour. I asked her if she had any vacancy in her business for any of us , I knew it was impossible to give job to a person who already runs same type of company. Inspite of that she gave me job in her company and taught Tourism. Deepa then to support us more, she asked to provide her ground transportation on commision basis.
What did you learn from your journey of Be The Local Tours?
1. Nothing is Impossible
2. Always help someone in need
There is an Hadees which means “ Tum Zameen walo par Raham karo Aasman wala tumpar raham karega”
What has Be the Local Tours grown into, at present?
We are a team of 15, all are guides are students studying in different collages in Mumbai, We are rating 5 star on Trip Advisor, we have handeled a lot of international tourists, many Corporates, many Educational institutes etc.
What are the future plans of Be The Local Tours?
Just with our Dharavi tours we cannot survive, redevelopment plan any time start and then what?
So we came up with other /Authentic tours in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Today we have around seven tours ground Transportation.
Our future plan is to provide tours all over India with the same concept of hiring students and training and providing then part time job.
What were the challenges faced initially?
1. We were not that experienced.
2. We were financially not that strong
3. Our written English was not that good
The video embedded below by Intel says it all about their endeavour.
No endeavour touches success without witnessing difficulties. These twists and turns are what makes one stronger. But the dedication is still commendable. Because its a cause they are living for the others and not just themselves. We, ReadMeNow, as a team want to thank you for this interview. It is really humble for you to take such a massive initiative. And we thank you for sparing some time out of your schedule and reverting back with everything in details. I am sure our readers would be proud. We wish you a good luck from ReadMeNow.