Sunday, 27 January 2013

Dharavi - a visit to remember

Dear reader,
Even before I came to Mumbai I had heard about it. I had seen how it looked like, in the film Slumdog Millionaire. I had read about it, in the book Shantaram. To me, it sounded a bit sad, a bit intimidating and I was not at all sure that this was a place I wanted to visit. Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia.
Dharavi, home for around 1 million people
Well, we went there, my whole family: husband, teens, visiting grandparents, and in company with my Belgian friend and her family. An experience we will not forget so easily. And the greatest moments? My teens playing cricket with the teens there, my husband chatting with kids surrounding him (probably their first 2 meter tall Greek), my father-in-law: lost in the little workshop where they transformed old car-parts to new ones and my mother-in-law admiring the detailed work of the tailors.
Cricket in Dharavi - and my teens joined the game. Great fun!

Tailors at work

And here they were making jeans
We visited small workshops, most of them based on recycling garbage. What an eyeopener for us westerns: to see how well they utilize what other people has just thrown away, and make brand new products. We saw workshops for recycling metal, paper, wood and plastics.
This guy's work was to remove the copper from inside the cables. He was payed by each kilo copper he delivered.
We met really friendly, hard-working and proud people who were eager to show us the techniques, skills and quality of their work, and tell us about the good things in Dharavi. They work every day, and we were told that if they do not work one day, the large factories they deliver to, will have problems. They also work directly for some well - known foreign companies, like making leather jackets for a famous French fashion brand..

Here we are visiting the bakery. And really hot and steamy place, where the happy bakers wanted us to promise to come back:-) 5 rupees for a bread!


We visited Dharavi on India's Republic Day. We were therefor so lucky to end up in the middle of a Childrens celebration. I think they found it hilarious with this bunch of foreigners suddenly appearing. They almost forget their games, being so busy asking our name, giving us small Indian flags and shaking our hands :-)
Childrens festval, patiently waiting for the race to start

Giggling kids:-)
Bye bye Dharavi!

So, bye bye for now Dharavi! Thank you all for an interesting visit.
Have a wonderful Sunday dear reader, and stay tuned for more tales:-)

6 comments:

  1. Takk Tove:-) Kjekt å følge deg også - vi må ha med oss litt av Hellas hit også you know:) Klem

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  2. I think it is really worth a visit:-)

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  3. Filthy place. Worth seeing, but I wouldn't romanticise it. As a resident of Bombay, I can tell you we have too many slums and it's a bloody pain to us.

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  4. Absolutely! For a western I think it is interesting to see the workshops based on recycling.What a contrasted city we live in..

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