Deepa Krishnan is the power house behind Magic Tours, which offers experiential tours to suit all interests in 27 cities across India – be it culinary, textiles, art, music, shopping, culture and history or a Bollywood dance class you’re after, Magic Tours has something for everyone!
Here are her 15 Questions in 5 Minutes:
- Who you are (naturally!)
A woman who lives life to the full.
- What inspired you to create your business?
I graduated in 1990 with an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. I spent nearly two decades of my career in the corporate world, mainly in banking technology. I traveled widely due to my work, and met people from many countries. My journey in tourism only started in my late 30’s, when I realized that there were so many stereotypes about India, so many myths that need to be demolished. Starting with taking my own international colleagues out to showcase India, I eventually set up a guided tours company that offers bazaar walks, heritage walks, art walks, food walks, home-cooking, textile trails, craft trails etc. Initially, it was just a hobby, which I did along with my corporate career. But what started as just a hobby in 2006 has now become the largest pan-Indian guided tours company in the inbound segment, offering offbeat experiences in 27 different cities. Mumbai is our flagship city, but we are not just “Mumbai Magic”; we have 27 different Magic cities! I have personally visited these cities, read a lot about them, walked and explored the lanes and bazaars, and created these tours. So we are not just tour resellers, we are an imaginative company that creates tours, and we continue to launch at least 5-6 new tours each year.
- An anecdote which epitomizes your India?
We were on a walk in the area near Chor Bazaar when a very heavy handcart stopped because of the traffic. When the traffic lights turned green, the load pullers simply couldn’t get the cart going again. My guests that day for the walk were a group of expats, living in Bombay. On an impulse, one of them dashed into the middle of the street to give the cart a helping hand. The rest of the guests hung back, hesitant about joining in. The Indian labourer pulling the cart smiled and welcomed the added muscle power, and in a couple of minutes, the cart got moving again. My guest returned, grinning, dusting his palms. I couldn’t help grinning back. India welcomes those who choose to become insiders. As a visitor, you can choose to get into the heart of a country, or you can choose to be an observer. Whatever floats your boat. The streets are there, the people are there, the experiences are there as well, waiting. What you get from them is your choice. Insider or outsider, what do you want to be? And this is not just about foreign visitors to India. This is true for locals as well.
- One thing that you can’t live without?
- One thing that you hate?
- If you could change one thing about India what would it be?
The increasing lack of tolerance for alternative viewpoints.
- Who is your greatest inspiration?
The land itself! At the heart of all my work is India, in all its richness.
- What is your favourite quote?
“Let perfect not be the enemy of good”
- I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?
- What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?
- Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?
Yellowstone National Park, for my third visit.
And in India, I want to go to Kaziranga.
- What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?
- Book or Movie?
- Just for fun! I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?
- In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year-old self?
I have no regrets and no advice for my 20-year old self. She did what she did, which was right at that time of her life.
For more details on the variety or tours in a myriad of destinations offered by Magic Tours visit their website