Sunday 5th August 2012 turned out to be a very different and eye opening Sunday as I went on a Dharavi walk with Ms. Rashmi Bansal (author of “Poor Little Rich Slum”, Entrepreneur & Youth Expert ) and fellow bloggers organised by BlogAdda.
Dharavi famously known as the Largest Slum of Asia and off late the place where Slumdog Millionaire was shot is a land of diverse people and industries. We were guided by Fahim and Tauseef of Be The Local Tours & Travel, who specialise in Dharavi tours.
The walk made it look as if its huge area covering lots of land and big number of people residing. But in actual its area of 1.75 sq. Km approximately caters to a population of around 10 lac people. Its a industrial hub of sorts which caters to all kinds of industries like leather, garments, pottery, embroidery, dyeing, bakery and also a big recycling hub. Fahim also told me that diamond polishing and jewellery designing also is done in Dharavi which came as big surprise to me. It made me wonder that if Dharavi would not have been there what would have happened to the Mumbai – big big mess !
The above collage is a collection of photos showing the following –
1 – Aluminium and containers recycling and repair.
2 – Pottery.
3 – Automatic imported machines doing Embroidery.
4 – Bakery.
5 – Plastic recycling.
6 – Pottery.
7 – Dyeing.
8 – Soap making.
9 – Electric wires recycling.
10 – Muslim workers making Hindu shrines.
11 – Leather
12 – Plastic cutting and cleaning.
In the tour we went on a roof top which was quite an experience because on top we could see the whole spread of Dharavi and also could see Bandra Kurla on one side and Sion on the other.
The following collage has pictures taken from the rooftop in all directions.
We were also taken through the residential part of Dharavi. It was really hard to believe how people could live and spend their lives in such conditions. Air, space & light were of big big scarcity but then also people and children had smile on the faces and looked content. The kids were normally playing around and asked to click their pictures and were happy to see them too. None of them even begged or asked for any help and money. I really appreciate their spirit and way they are taking this into their stride and living on. Fahim mentioned that people of all communities reside in Dharavi – Maharashtrians, Gujaratis, Marwaris, Muslims, Christians, South Indians, etc. He also showed us a South Indian temple which has Allah written and pictures of Mecca Medina. It showed the true spirit of Diverse Dharavi.
It took us around 3 hours to complete the walk and in the end we went to Mother Teresa School where we met Veena Ma’am, a spirited and dedicated lady who has been teaching in Dharavi for quite some time now and also plans to restart her old age home in near future. She was very courteous and sweet to share her experiences with all and also gifted all of us handmade Diya’s.
Rashmi also made us meet Jameel who she has featured in her book as well. Jameel hails from Bihar and now is into manufacturing of customised dancing shoes. He also shared his story and days in Dharavi.
All in all it was worthwhile spending time with such amazing people and at such a diverse place.
BlogAdda organised it in a great way and also were host for a lovely south Indian breakfast in the morning before we started the walk.
It was enriching to meet Nirav Sanghvi ( Founder & CEO, BlogAdda ) and also Sagarika, Harish and Narayan who took great care of all of us.
I must mention special thanks to Ms. Rashmi Bansal too who took out time on a Sunday for this and I look forward to finish reading her book.
( Above Group Picture Credit – Shishir Dhulla & BlogAdda.com )
Also, here is the link to few pictures I was able to click – https://picasaweb.google.com/101587128450867553619/DharaviWalk .
Hope all readers will enjoy reading the post and seeing the pictures.