Who We Are

WHOSE MINDS ARE BEHIND THIS CHATTER,  ERR….MATTER!!!

We are die-hard ghoomakars of Delhi or as our friends call us, ‘pacca Dilliwallahs.’ We can often be found lying on grassy lawns staring up at old monuments, giving a whole new meaning to the words “getting a new perspective” of Delhi! Over the last decade, we have meandered the streets and through the pages of history, peeled off layers of this marvellous city and deciphered its splendours and shadows – historically/ chronologically/ randomly with all its madness, colours and flavours – and then we decided this bliss must be shared…and so was born…DelhiByFoot!

Ramit, a co-founder, is a true-blue Dilliwallah who loves to gorge on all that Delhi has to offer. He was always passionate about three things- people, history, food; and Delhi amply rewards him in all three aspects! As an amateur photography enthusiast, it is the eagerness to see, learn and document history, built and natural heritage, cultural heritage of a place and its people that triggers his spirit of enquiry and the insatiable thirst to know about all things, that he can! No wonder he combined his loves to create DelhiByFoot! With a successful stint of 11 years in the corporate world behind him in diverse industries of Telecom, Advertising, Publishing and Event Management, he has finally figured out that exploring Delhi in all its moods, helps him maintain sanity in his life!                                                                                                                                         

Jaya Iyer, a co-founder, is also the CFO (Chief Fun-in-learning Officer!!!) of DelhiByFoot, leading all our special Educational Workshops/Projects and Heritage Conservation initiatives. Jaya’s life is a journey exploring the warp & weft of the world of art, social development and ecological integrity through theatre, education, social action, organizational development, self-work and spirituality. In her various avatars she has been a  CEO of  a medium sized non-profit,  foot soldier of a farmers’ movement, a faculty in Delhi University, creator, actor and director of over 300 street-plays and several award winning stage productions, a trained dancer and a Kalaripayattu martial artist. Another pacca Dilliwallah, her love-affair with Delhi knows no bounds and has manifested in form of being one of the earliest and most active organisers of heritage and nature walking experience in Delhi over the past 16 years.

Ayushman Choudhary has over twelve years of experience in working with leading environmental NGOs and bilateral organisations. He has worked on sustainability issues and with young people for several leading Indian and International organisations. His expertise includes programme design and implementation based on outdoor activity-based learning, developing resource material, heritage research and documentation. His love for travelling has given him opportunities to regularly write about his experiences for travel websites, having also written extensively for the Outlook Delhi Travel Guidebook in the past.

Zubair Idrisi plans and implements DBF’s outdoor adventure learning programmes and has over twelve years of experience in working with young adults and children in field of role of youth as ‘triggers of social development’. Zubair is a self-trained theatre performance artist and has a firm belief that using theatrical performances as an enabler for educational programmes to help young minds develop better. Thus he uses his theatre talents in developing and coordinating street plays as part of social campaigns and also a range of training programs for youth development. A founder member of Khoj Foundation, he has consulted for a range of educational institutions, organisations and corporates including Oakridge School, Heritage Schools, SOS Children’s Village, Google, KPMG, DU, UNICEF, Jagori, Government of Chattisgarh and NMML. When he is not walking with DBF, or training youth using theatre performances, he can be found indulging in his love of motor-biking! An avid traveller, he has taken his motor-bike across the country, on solo rides on off-the-beaten roads be it the icy, cold passes of Ladakh or riding across the deserts of Rajasthan.

Mohammad Mehtab is a 7th generation Delhiwallah he has grown up in the narrow alleys and mohallas (enclosed housing localities) of the ‘Walled City of Shahjahanabad’- Delhi’s 7th city, popularly which is known as ‘Old Delhi’, built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in the mid-17th century. His childhood inquisitiveness and keen interest in the ‘Walled City’ are now proving helpful for us,as invests his time equally in the conservation of the historical and cultural legacy of this area and is actively involved in the development of the community both as an activist and also as part of India’s youngest political party AAP.

Riya Sarkar grew up in Chhattisgarh in Central India. On finishing her architectural education between Nagpur and Bangalore, she moved to Geneva, Switzerland to work with an architecture practice and learned French. She participated in setting up the Trade School Geneva, a school run without any monetary exchange, and also trained as a theatrical improviser there. After her time in Geneva, she moved to Delhi in 2015 to work with Stephane Paumier Architects and her profound interest in architectural history led her to collaborate with conservationists, historians, and social researchers. Taking a sabbatical from the architectural practice, she conducts heritage walks for DBF in the oldest city of Delhi, Mehrauli, old walled city of Shahjahanabad and pretty much across the city, helps organise improv-workshops in public spaces and writes. She is passionate about Hindustani classical music, Kathak- the north Indian dance form as a storytelling device, and preserving tangible and intangible heritage as a means to revitalize cities. Her work with the Urdu penmen in Old Delhi evolved into a Sahapedia-UNESCO fellowship on the Perso-Arabic Calligraphy in the Indian Subcontinent earlier last year and further into her first book, Indelible Ink.
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Mariyam Siddiqui, our youngest team-member believes that magic can be woven through words. Inspired from her mother, a teacher, whose oratory skills of story telling as means  of teaching fascinated Mariyam from childhood, she has over the last three years been nurturing her own story-narration skills. She believes with a strong foundation of academic research, she will be able to do her but in preserving the age-old traditions of ‘oral history’. And to keep indulging in this passion of telling tales, she has held positions of responsibility in her college heritage society ‘CHRONO’ and has thereafter worked with heritage/cultural organisations handling various educational and tourism oriented projects in the past. A true-blue Delhiite who loves a good story and being a self-professed foodie who often puts pen to paper, to take her knowledge into the public domain, it’s her firm belief that life is meant to be a spectacular adventure, that cuts across, the yesterdays, todays and tomorrows of this world.

Kanika Sharma, our newest team member, was born and brought up in the by-lanes of the Walled City of Delhi, aka. Shahjahanabad; and with more than a passing interest in history because of her roots, and being a hard-core foodie who could savour gastronomic joys in Old Delhi so frequently, it is no wonder that eventually she finds herself walking the streets of Delhi to tell its tales to a traveller.  With a dream to travel the world and explore its rich heritage and culture, she has been dabbling in heritage and food walk experiences for the last few years on her own, and now has also been associated with DBF for past almost 10 months. Coming from a family which have been residents of one of most culturally rich part of the city, she possesses a passion for exploring and experiencing the melting pot of cultures that Delhi is and being an old-school person at heart she has a knack for oral story-telling, as the elders of her family once recounted to her!

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Kuldeep Rohilla is a freelance photo-artist, advertising and documentary photographer from Delhi, who currently teaches Introduction to Photography and Critical Thinking in Fashion Photography at Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT), Noida. Having a masters in photography from Mumbai’s prestigious Shari Academy, Kuldeep has been crisscrossing the country on his personal documentary work and for assignments with Indian and international brands like Apple, Alstom, Maruti Suzuki, Hero Motor Corp, Shiv Nadar University etc. He was a core team member of India’s first and only international photo festival, the Delhi Photo Festival. He indulges in his passion of working with young children by volunteering with DBF, where he helps students and young children who join DBF’s school education programs to actively use photography as a medium to document and record history.

Mansi Thapliyal is a young, 31-year old artist and freelance photo-journalist and documentary photographer, having worked for Reuters and BBC in the past, an avid history enthusiast and also an accomplished dancer and theatre performer. She is from the city of Rishikesh, but has made Delhi her home since the past 11 years. She has had a diverse amount of exposure around India during her photography projects, having stayed & worked in Mumbai, Nagpur, Chennai & Amritsar. She recently finished her M.A. in Performance Arts from Delhi’s prestigious university, Ambedkar University and is now using her training as a performance artist, to teach in Ukti, the first school in Delhi, which is working on the principles of the internationally acclaimed Steiner-Waldorf Educational approach to offer to its children a complete (“head, heart, and hands”) learning experience. As a photographer she also leads our photography projects and city photo tours. Check out her work HERE

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