Anyone been to the slums of Mumbai ?

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  • Anyone been to the slums of Mumbai ?
  • Don’t like the word slum seems a bit harsh to me…

    Have you been whats it like ? How did it make you feel ?

    I know its been on TV countless times but be interesting to hear your views…

    wysiwyg
    Member

    Ive been, was an interesting experience. People sleeping in and using as a toilet the streets/main roads. Getting spat at by tranny at some traffic lights for not giving them money.

    Was nice otherwise..hmm. Got stared at a lot, like eminem said, yall act like you never seen a white person before..

    slowoldgit
    Member

    I wondered what sort of place did they leave that made living in a cardboard shed on a pavement in Bombay look attractive, This was after hearing that the majority were refugees from elsewhere in India.

    Plus, in view of the awful diesel smoke, what would their long-term health problems be?

    That’s from the relative safety of a taxi on main roads. Don’t have the windows down when it stops, btw.

    Premier Icon paladin
    Subscriber

    Spent a bit of time in both Bombay and Mumbai. 😉
    The poverty is difficult to comprehend and its really difficult to ignore the beggars, many of them kids. Ignore them you must tho, as if you give to one, then you’ll have many many more chasing you.
    The city is a complete assault on the senses, the heat, the smells, the noise, the tastes of the food and drink, and all there is to see. Its amazing.
    It really is a stunning city, well worth the visit for the strong of stomach.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    i would rather eat my own pooh than visit such a place.

    As Paladin says.

    Just the relative ‘safety’ of driving in a taxi is eye opening 😯

    arrpee
    Member

    If you’re interested, you might want to read ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ by Katharine Boo.

    She basically lived in a Mumbai slum for a few years then wrote about the lives of a number of people she met. It’s tied together around her account of a dispute between two sets of neighbours which quickly spirals into very dark territory.

    A very good piece of journalism which reads like a novel.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    The thing I found hardest was the mutilation/dis-figuration of their own children by the lowest caste. Crippled children do best as beggars so the parents distort their limbs with metal wire which the bones / flesh grow around. Hence you see teenagers with twisted arms and bits of steel wire popping out the flesh where it was bound on as a baby.

    scruff
    Member

    Its Ok, a trip to Mars will help sort the slums.

    The slums of Mumbai hit all your senses in an extreme manner. There is a dark and a positive side. People have referred to the negative side already, but there is also a sense of pride and community in some of the slums that is hard for outsiders to comprehend combined with much brutality etc. And then you see the schoolgirls emerge with clean white shirts, neatly ironed, and bright ribbons in their hair and you contrast that to the sight on the average UK school run. Makes you humble to see how they get on with life with an air of dignity and ashamed of how we look in reverse.

    There is an awful contrast in areas such as Nariman Point and the main financial district with people living on the street next to $m properties, office blocks and 5* hotels.

    Go and visit, you will come back humbled and grateful

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Really curious as to why you ask?

    Are you considering going on one of these tours that apparently exist?

    wysiwyg
    Member

    I was on the back of a bike or open sided jeep. Doh

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Subscriber

    Mumbai? No. Cairo… yes.

    Puts my problems in to perspective.

    Won’t stop me moaning about my lbs’ inability to get stuff in in under 2 weeks though.

    FunkyDunc – Member

    Really curious as to why you ask?

    Are you considering going on one of these tours that apparently exist?

    Asking as reading the Accidental Apprentice which is a quite good…

    And no Id never take a tour like that on principle ! I was in East Africa 18yrs ago and saw horrific stuff then…

    wors
    Member

    There is an awful contrast in areas such as Nariman Point and the main financial district with people living on the street next to $m properties, office blocks and 5* hotels.

    A mate of mine went over with his work, his plush 5* hotel room was overlooking some of the slums, pretty sickening if you ask me.

    mogrim
    Member

    Been to Cairo slums, top tip would be to avoid entering any type of food market, particularly if they have live fowl.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    No. Why would you?

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    The Kevin Mcloud Slumming It documentary was really good. He showed that, in places, there is a really strong sense of community with good educational standards, strong community ethic and vibrant industries.

    Visiting that part of the slum could be fascinating.

    Why would you?…

    To learn how others live
    To help
    To appreciate what you have
    To bring perspective to your life….
    …etc…..

    Plenty more where those reasons come from!!

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    I can do all that without going there, thanks.

    From experience, I would say, “I am not sure that you can.” but your choice (loss?) Woppit!!

    Flew into Mumbai on the way to Goa last year. Couldn’t make out what the swathes of grey were as we were descending, just miles of grey like big lakes which I stupidly thought might be salt flats or something. It wasn’t till we got down closer I could make out what they were!
    How the hell do you find your own ‘house’ in the middle of that lot??

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
    Subscriber

    This is about half a mile from the slums. 27 storeys of the world most expensive house – for a family of four. Bizarre.
    The most striking sight I ever saw was a beautiful woman in an iridescent turquoise sari walking elegantly out of a slum on her way to work.
    It is an amazing place, but I don’t like it.

    You can’t sum the Mumbai slums up with any neat aphorism. The first thing that struck me always was the unmistakable whiff of human excrement on the air, passing by the slums beside the trainline into Mumbai. Then you look out of the train window, expecting to see all the ‘poverty’ clichés, but they aren’t present. People were living their lives in this place, happy joyful lives. I remember seeing excited kids playing football in the morning and people smiling back at me, while washing from plastic buckets down shack-lined, rubbish appropriated, dusty allies; all-the-while, nevertheless living in abject poverty.

    For me, I find it impossible to pin down the ‘right’ or the ‘wrong’ of India. It just is. Very little of it (and Mars missions, not excepted) makes much sense when approached from the Western way of seeing the world.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    For me, I find it impossible to pin down the ‘right’ or the ‘wrong’ of India. It just is. Very little of it (and Mars missions, not excepted) makes much sense when approached from the Western way of seeing the world.

    This sums it up quite well I think. Spent quite lot of time in non tourist Mumbai and Thane with my work colleagues (mainly locals), and some of it even to them was just not right .. but where to start fixing it (the extreme poverty, not a non western lifestyle) now?

    Premier Icon scandal42
    Subscriber

    I would whole heartedly recommend a read of Shantaram, whilst parts are undoubtedly exaggerated for effect, it’s a great red nonetheless and contains intimate detail of the slums and it’s nuances.

    Mackem
    Member

    I was thinking of “Shantaram” as I was reading this thread. Never finished the book as I started to find the main man rather irritating and found myself throwing the book around in disbelief. One advantage that paper books have over e-books.

    trail_rat
    Member

    To appreciate what you have
    To bring perspective to your life….

    does that go with the iphone , ipad & woodburner ?

    ive seen alot of this through work (not mumbai but slums and people living rough) and going to view it for a holiday is wrong on many levels imo. They are not animals in the zoo to make you feel better – its only luck that you and i were not born there.

    One things for sure – once you get past the begging and desperation – a nicer people you wont meet.

    appologies if i have got it wrong but some of the posts come across as very self centric.

    TR – to be clear, I have not gone on an “organised trip” but can understand your zoo comment, I used to do a lot of work with banks and housing companies in India in the 1990s and more recently. My visits were generally part of visiting housing projects in a work capacity.

    The reason I mde my comments to Woppit are twofold – (1) it’s very hard/impossible to appreciate India without first hand experience. For me, it truly is an assault (good and bad) on all your senses and hard to take in on a first visit and (2) I always come back from India feeling humbled and spiritually enriched. Spending hours in a tuk-tuk or at best an air con Ambassador makes you question priorities that we have at home. Plus as I said, it is humbling to compare how smart people are in the slums in contrast to many school kids in the UK. There is a lesson there.

    So I am not advocating zoo trips, rather if the opportunity arises, take it. There is a lot to experince and more importantly learn IMO. Since working in India in the 90s I have never felt any need or desire to buy a fancy car. Trivial example perhaps but important to me.

    wl
    Member

    Slum visit or no slum visit, don’t forget that Mumbai is a fascinating and often beautiful city, buzzing with the spectacular activity of millions of mostly very friendly and welcoming people. Personally, I can more or less see the point of visiting a slum if the chance arises, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to organise it and wouldn’t want to go as part of an organised tour.

    Premier Icon paladin
    Subscriber

    Saw an organised tour of Brits getting herded around Bombay, from attraction to attraction. Not something I’d fancy doing.

    I’d say the touristy attractions there are far less impressive than just wandering about the city and taking it all in.

    A beggar girl followed me around for a while chatting to me, that was more interesting than seeing the Gateway to India. Sounds strange maybe, but the insight into someone’s life sooo different to mine is more memorable than the tourist attraction littered with tourist tat and snake charmers.

    Premier Icon johnhe
    Subscriber

    It’s a stunning place. People who have so, so little are so friendly and helpful. What constantly surprised me is how safe I felt there. Everyone was just so hospitable. It can be a really humbling experience.

    b r
    Member

    The more I travelled (the world on business), the more I appreciated home – and coming home.

    Now very happy that I don’t have to travel anymore, even though I did it in ‘style’.

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