Archive for January 2009

Slum Tourism

I saw a news item today on television. The success of 'Slumdog Millionaire' has piqued people's interest in what is being termed as 'Slum Tourism'. This essentially means that people visiting Mumbai take a deko at Mumbai slums, usually Dharavi.

I can only say that this HORRIFIES me! Slums are a glaring indicator of our country's inability to live upto its responsibilty of taking care of its citizens. Where people live sub human lives without access to basic facilities essential to live a dignified life. And this warrants tourism?!

One could perhaps understand why foreign tourists might want to see such sights. Perhaps out of a morbid fascination to know how the 'other side' lives. Much like watching a horror movie - you dont really want to see it (coz it scares the living daylights out of you) but you can't seem to help it. You watch...comforted in the idea that you can walk out of the theatre once the show is over and forget all about it.

But how does one account for Indians, indeed Mumbaikars, wanting a taste of this terrible tourism? The news feature had members of the middle class expressing their interest in wanting to 'learn how people in slums live' and a pretty reporter exolting the delights of slum tourism. Here is a footpath dwelling, made with cardboard and scrap. One can learn so much from these slum dwellers about recycling. And over there is a toilet block that over 100 people use. What happens when the drains clog up you ask? Well, there is always open defecation. Wonderful way to commune with nature. There you see women lined up to fill pots with drinking water. Hang around and you may get the opportunity to learn some choice expletives in various regional languages.

Have we become so dead as a nation that we get our jollies out of the suffering of our fellow citizens? Is there no end to this commercialisation?

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Mutual dislike & farewells

Ever notice how people always say such nice things at farewell parties? Even if its for a person who's guts you hate, - you try to say something nice. Perhaps all ill feeling melts away at the sight of the flowers, chocolates and other snacks?

I attended a farewell party today for a person who was leaving us. Suffice to say that our dislike of each other is entirely mutual.

So there I was, faced with some nice grub - sweets, masala vada, cauliflower bajji, onion pakoda - and there he was, my latest bĂȘte was like the Tom & Jerry show - an angel, halo and all on one shoulder and the devil, tail and pitchfork on the other.

" Thank you for your dedicated services to our organisation. It was a pleasure knowing and working with you" - Are you kidding me?! More like:" Thanks for leaving! Dont know how an imbecile like you made it through the portals of our agency"

" We have all learned so much from you" Yeah! Like not responding to emails and saying I never received it. Some problem with the network perhaps!

" You have set standards for excellance that we can only aspire to" - Stop! I'm already shaking with uncontrollable laughter.

In the end, I didnt say anything. Stuffed my face with the delicious snacks and nodded along as others said all the nice things. After all, what goes around, comes around....I want people to say nice things at MY farewell party!

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a maiden venture

I've been hearing about blogs for a while now. I was told its a great way to express oneself. Freedom of expression and a boon for people who fancy themselves writers - like me! So here I am, ready to make full use of my right to freedom of expression. Hope it will sharpen my writing and lead me to my dream of being an author of repute.

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