The most important members of our team are our guides, but here's the rest of us!
Uday Pujari Senior Accounts Manager
Uday was born and brought up in a village in Karnataka and graduated from University with a degree in commerce.
He has been in Mumbai for 8 years. He loves yoga, cricket, volleyball, swimming, listening to music, and reading the newspaper and about the various religions. Uday was recently married to his girlfriend of 3 years. He currently lives in Bandra with his wife. Uday and his wife hope to one day start an organization in Karnataka that will support and rehabilitate orphaned girls and rescued girls who were kidnapped or abused.
Asim Shaikh Operations Manager
If you want to understand Reality Group, look no further than Asim's history with Reality!
Asim is our incredible Reception Centre Manager/ Community Centre Manager/ Tour Guide Manager / Tour Guide. He started at Reality as a part-time computer teacher in November 2009 and has taken on more and more responsibility ever since.
He loves his work because he interacts with the kids, it is challenging and he is never bored because there is always something new to do and learn. In the future, he can't see himself working anywhere else. Asim is particular grateful to Lee from Atma (NGO partner) for introducing him to Reality and to Jonny for being his guide and mentor.
Asim was born in Antop Hill in Mumbai, and still lives there with his wife, parents, two younger brothers, and new daughter.
Ramesh Pujari Caretaker
Ramesh is our hardworking caretaker at the Reception Centre.
Ramesh's family lives in Byandor and he visits them or they come to Mumbai every six months. He enjoys watching Hindi and Kannada movies.
Evelyn D'Souza Reservations Manager
Evelyn is our continually smiling Reservations Manager, who you will be in contact with when you book a tour.
Evelyn comes from a small village outside Mangalore called Beltangady. She likes to listen to music, reading and swimming. When she has some spare time, she loves to sit on the sea shore and watch the waves for hours!
Mayur Parmar Operations Executive
Mayur is our non-stop Operations Executive, who never seems to spend more than 5 minutes in one place.
He is the youngest member of staff, and also the busiest, with a job description that can only be described as 'varied'.
And he doesn't go home and rest after work. He's studying for his 12th Standard exams, as well as Tally (accounts program) and Desktop Application.
When he does have free time, he likes to play Australian football, and in the future, he wants to play in the AFL!
He was born in Mumbai and stays in Dharavi with his family, originally from Gujarat
Paul Whittle CEO
Paul’s mother sometimes jokes that his first word was “passport”. Such was his interest in travel and learning about other cultures from a very young age. After graduating from university in his native UK he has since visited close to a hundred countries, yet he still insists his wish list is longer now than when he started.
With over ten years working in the travel industry Paul initially started as an overland tour leader, then worked in management positions at several adventure tour operators before joining Reality Tours & Travel as our CEO in January 2015. He joined eager to start trying to offer something back, having gained so much enjoyment from his own travel experiences over the years.
Beatrice Crestini Marketing Director
Beatrice is originally from Italy but lived in the UK for a number of years. Her first trip to India was in 2011 during which she fell in love with the country and kept coming back on holiday to travel around.
She holds a Masters in Foreign Languages and Literature and worked in the financial services sector. After this she decided to change career and became involved in charity work, moving to Mumbai to do some volunteer work and gain more experience.
Back in the UK she worked doing marketing and fundraising for a major charity that helps and supports mobility for blind and partially sighted people. Now she is back in India working for Reality Tours, and to follow her passion to work for a good cause and contribute to a social business that helps the local community.
She is a dedicated Iyengar yoga practitioner. Her hobbies include dancing, reading, gardening, listening to music, cooking, going to concerts and travelling with the aim of immersing herself in a foreign culture to fully experience each destination.
Krishna Pujari Co-founder
Krishna originally moved from his home state of Karnataka to Mumbai to work in the restaurant business.
Krishna is from a village in Karnataka called Heranjalu. When he was 13, he came to Mumbai to work in various restaurants and cafeterias. During these years, Krishna also attended night school until he passed his final school exams.
Krishna loves meeting people and taking them on our tours. His favourite comment is "Oh, that's nice!" He loves playing cricket when he has time. Krishna is the glue between Reality Tours and our communities. He loves fish curry cooked by his Mum.
Chris Way Co-founder
Chris' original inspiration for the tours came from witnessing the potential of slum tourism in the fevela's of Rio de Janeiro.
Chris is from the UK. He studied Business and Hispanic Studies at Birmingham University, and is a part-qualified chartered accountant.
Chris first came to India in 2002 to do four months of volunteer work at a school that served children living in a slum. When Chris had previously lived in Rio die Janeiro, Brazil, he had witnessed how tourism was beneficial for local communities. With this understanding, Chris relocated to India in 2004 to start the project that would become Reality Tours & Travel.
After eight years living in Mumbai, he decided to give up his duties at both Reality Tours and Gives to the experts as he says. Currently he helps a NGO in Manila, Philippines to set up a similar model of slum tours as well as searches for opportunities to expand further.
Arul Bala Reservation Consultant
Arul is from Mumbai and lives in Dharavi. Before working for Reality Tours she was a student at the Youth Empowerment Program run by our sister NGO, Reality Gives.
She decided to join the team and helps with all of our tour bookings and travel reservations. What she likes the most is how her job keeps her constantly interacting with people and her constant smile is famous in the office.
During her free time she likes to listen to music and her biggest dream is to buy a flat in Mumbai for her parents and live a healthy life.
Reality Tours & Travel was founded in 2005 by Chris Way and Krishna Pujari. Krishna recently told our founding story on the TEDx stage.
The Dharavi Tour and the concept behind Reality Tours was originally inspired by the favela tours that Chris had seen in Brazil. The pair wanted to use walking tours of Dharavi to raise awareness about life in slums and simultaneously raise funds for local community projects.
Krishna Pujari, the son of rice farmers from Heranjalu in the South Indian state of Karnaraka, was working in a Colaba restaurant when Chris originally came to India. The two met when Chris ate at Krishna's restaurant. Later, the two serendipitously met again on the Oval Maiden when Chris was looking for a cricket match. The two quickly became good friends and Chris shared his idea of educational walking tours of Dharavi.
Reality Tours & Travel was founded in August 2005 but we didn’t run a Dharavi tour until January 2006. It wasn't easy to convince people to come and visit a slum: hotels wouldn't work with us because we wouldn't pay commission and people were sceptical of flyers being handed out on the street trying to bring them to a slum. Despite only having 367 visitors in 2006, we remained determined. We knew that Dharavi was a fascinating place and that the tour was an important step to raise awareness. In addition, the feedback we received from first tours was extremely positive. Our big break came when Lonely Planet included us in their 2007 guidebook.
In 2007, even though Reality Tours was not yet profitable, we decided to begin community work. After assessing the needs of the community, we founded a community centre that provided English classes. Before long we began offering computer classes as well. In 2009 we expanded our social work by establishing our own non-profit organisation that would focus on providing high quality education to young people from underprivileged communities. The charity, Reality Gives (formerly Reality Cares), was founded out of long talks with the community in Dharavi. It became clear that there was a need for additional education facilities in the area.
Currently, Reality Gives runs educational programs, designs curricula, and trains teachers. We have three community centres around Dharavi where we run English, Computer and Life Skills classes and offer additional sport and art activities. So far we have positively impacted the lives of over 6,000 local youth. You can read our 2015 annual report here.
There have also been big changes for Reality Tours over the past couple of years. In 2011, Reality Tours started offering tours in South Mumbai with the creation of the Local Transport, Market and Night Tours. We also made our first move outside of Mumbai with our village tours to Chinchoti. In 2013, we
added an early morning Bicycle Tour and a Street Food Tour. As with the Dharavi Tour, 80% of the profit from all of the Mumbai city tours and village tours support Reality Gives.
In 2012, we were recognised for our efforts when we were chosen as the overall winners of the Responsible Tourism Awards. The judges encouraged us to expand our model of sustainable development. In 2013, Reality Tours expanded to Rajasthan and Kerala by offering multi-day tours through these two beautiful Indian states.
In the summer of 2014, we opened in Delhi and began working with the New Delhi slum, Sanjay Colony, which is located in the Okhla Industrial Area, India's largest industrial area. We also offer Old Delhi Tours, Old Delhi Street Food Tours, and Sightseeing Tours. Reality Gives is now looking to invest the Delhi profits in replicating Reality Gives’ Computer Program using the curricula we have already developed. Reality Group now welcomes over 15,000 guests each year and employs over 50 members of staff.
Unique Business Service Centre,
Nowroji Fardonji Road,
Opposite Bademiya Restaurant,
Colaba, Mumbai - 400 039
Mon - Fri: 10.15am to 6.00pm,
Sat: 10.15am to 3.30pm, Sun and
Public Holidays: Closed
How to Find Us
It's best to book tours online, by phone, or by email, but if you need to find us, our office is located on Nowroji Fardonji Road which is the street next to Leopold Cafe. You will see our signboard attached to a light pole. Our office is located in the building behind SSS Corner Store. Go through SSS Corner Store, up the stairs, to the right, and into the Unique Business Service Centre. (Photo: One, Two, Three, Four, Five)
Be wary that there are other tour operators on the street that may claim to be Reality Tours. You will recognize our staff by our shirts with the Reality Tours logo on it.