A curiously sober city tour with Svami drinks
You haven't really seen a city until you've seen it atop an open city bus. Yes, the international sightseeing trend has been catching up with the Indian audience too. Riding the wave at the right time, and adding a whole lotta non-alcoholic fun to the open bus ride was how Svami Drinks brought city events back to life after almost a year's hiatus.
Starting at 8am sharp, the good folks at No Footprints and Svami Drinks were ready to make your early morning worth its while. Starting with wonderful stories at the Gateway of India, Mumbai Yacht Club and the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, we started the bus ride, ready to look at our city with history-tinted glasses.
Riding through the art-deco buildings of South Mumbai, driving down Azad Maida, Victoria Terminus and Flora Fountain, we got a whole new wealth of information on the British and their love affair with India. Stories about British women landing in Mumbai looking for prized army men as grooms; to a Parsi gentleman donating a snooker table to get access to the Yacht Club and still getting refused; to the story of Senior Mr. Tata being denied entry to the all-British hotel and then building his own Taj Mahal Palace - it's all information that you wouldn't even find in the books of history.
The stretch of Marine Drive was loaded with forgotten stories from erstwhile Bollywood, when Marine Drive was the hangout of the rich and the famous. Interesting stories about Nargis, Dev Anand and more erstwhile actors kept us entertained, before the sad plight of Haji Ali Dargah made us feel sorry for the beautiful city Mumbai is. The upcoming Coastal Road Project has cause much harm, not only to the ecology of the place, but also to its visual appeal. All this, and more was even more visible atop a double decker, and that honestly made us sad for the things we do in the name of progress, completely oblivious to the harm we're causing to the environment.
Hitting the beautiful Bandra-Worli Sea-Link, we got lost in the beauty of the place, all over again. Our tour coordinator, Harshvardhan, was a mine of knowledge on his city. Right from the history of the missing statues on top of Victoria Terminus, to some filmy gossip from the bygone era, to stories of fishing villages of Mumbai... the bus ride was a true tourist's delight, made better with Svami Drinks. The Non Alcoholic Rum and Cola flavour was the one that gave us party feels without the discomfort the consumption of the actual beverage would have caused us early in the morning. We've converted, if you ask us!