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Verve People
July 12, 2011

City sleuths

Text by Nasrin Modak. Photograph by Ritam Banerjee

Mumbai’s Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar, co-founders, Brown Paper Bag, come up with the latest buzz from the by-lanes of the city

The two – with their team – dive deep into the city’s unexplored areas to come up with nuggets of information for everyone. You could call them the official secret sleuths of Mumbai and their current mission, which is also their work began when New-York based media professional Mansi Poddar moved to Mumbai and met Kanika Parab. Both thought that “There was more to this city than regular haunts and much-talked about restaurants.’ And that’s when was born almost two years ago. “Brown paper bag represents the anti ‘it-bag’, hence the name,” says Mansi.

While Mansi has dabbled in PR and media after a  Masters degree from New York University in International Affairs, so also has Kanika, a St Xavier’s College graduate. Back to ‘ground work’ in the city, the girls are loving it all. ‘Mumbai is a juxtaposition of countless different places. Being a Secret Scouter is like discovering a new city every day – it’s the best kind of armchair travel. Also, we get to eat a lot of cake,’ quips Mansi. On the other hand, “Since we’re constantly looking out for new stuff, every dinner, drink, movie we go to feels like work,” adds Kanika.

While not working, Mansi is a water baby. She sails, scuba dives, swims and is an avid beach bum. And Kanika “likes to feast on Marquez’s books, write Twitter stories on the fast train, walk around Bandra and twist into a pretzel at yoga class.”

On their Discover Mumbai spree, they have learnt a lot from their venture. The biggest lesson, they both agree, is “Never say never. Keep it small. Do something you think you’re not good at and you’ll be surprised at the results.”

Plans for expansion are on the anvil. Both emphasise in unison, “This is a big year for us – we’ve just expanded to Pune and are planning another city conquest, we have a bpb guide book coming out in July, and lots more exciting stuff.”

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