I grew up changing schools, houses, and cities. My father was with the Indian Air Force, which meant the whole family packed up the house annually and moved to another remote corner of the country. Mumbai was the first place that lasted more than 3 years. The three stretched to 17, and despite having loved (and lived) the nomadic life, it felt great to finally be familiar in a place and Bombay swept me off my feet. It took a while for that, though, but when it happened, it did feel like I had known the city forever.
There’s a great satisfaction in knowing shortcuts and bylanes, in knowing where to get the best fish-thali, Irish-coffee, and late night beer, and to have keys to all your friends’ apartments. That sense of familiarity cozies up to you in a way that you snuggle right back. I love that about Bombay, and since this was the city I’d lived longest in, it became home. Also, because I wanted it to be home.
And then I moved again, to a city I had been slowly falling for, for over a decade. My move to London was in stages. A few months one year, 7 months another year, and then finally when I’d packed all my shoes and moved them into my closet at home in Hackney, did it hit me that I’d moved to another city. It was while I was still shuttling that I decided I wanted to write about both these cities that I love so much. I wanted to write about all the places that make these cities come to life. I was starting to get familiar with London, I already knew years of Bombay, and I wanted to put down everything I discovered/had discovered on paper.
That idea evolved into finding 3 other people who wanted to work on something similar. So, along with Shyamal, Genesia, and Shivani, we started writing about Mumbai and London. Stories about our ‘hoods, about the people we surround ourselves with, about the places that are ‘our’ places, things that fascinate us, and experiences that are intrinsic to each city. In a few months, we had reached out to local writers in both cities, and then to photographers. Our project started to snowball and actually become real. It was exciting to read all the submissions, to share the enthusiasm of everybody who was writing and taking photographs for The City Story – a name that got chosen without any bloodshed or fistfights (Hallelujah!).
We’re ready with our stories, and we’re ready with www.thecitystory.com, but just before we go live, we have launched our Kickstarter campaign. We’ve broken down what we do, who we are, and why we need your support and are raising funds. We want to explore every aspect of these cities, and we’re armed with a small army of contributors who have worked relentlessly for the past 10 months.
We’d love to keep adding more stories and move to video content soon, and we’re hoping we’ll get by with a little help from our friends. So, share/spread the word about The City Story, and we promise to bring you stories that are all heart (and a whole lotta soul).