Friday 28 February 2014

Morning Musings: February 25, 2014, Mumbai

One of the things that my friends in US comment about India is the obvious disparity existing side by side. You see an upscale skyscraper and a slum right next door. It feels as though you can never escape the poverty.


Then, there is the moral dilemma of what the rich must do for the poor, who live right next door. Why do we let this side-by-side contrast exist? Have we become blasé to the scenery that surrounds us, when we walk past it every day? I was confronted with this question within myself when I went on a walk in Mumbai where I walked past tiny homes as well as huge apartment buildings side by side. I observed the people coming in and out of the small homes kludged together with corrugated metal sheets. A lady walking out of a toilet, a teenager hanging over the flimsy balcony chatting with an aunt downstairs, kids walking out to go to school with parents in tow – if I took away the condition of the housing or the clothing that one was wearing, they could have been in any neighborhood. None of them were sitting around moping to be living in these conditions – they were all working, moving about their lives making the most of it. Sometimes I wonder what keeps a person living in a small house spare the rich that spend more on the petrol in one day than the poor person’s entire monthly salary.

As I walked by these homes and the large apartment buildings, I could not help but feel a sense of beauty in this obvious disharmony. Why should only those who can afford it inhabit a wonderful place by the sea? There is some poetic justice in sharing the view with those less privileged as well. Since you live next to each other, the one in the small home might not feel the urge to torch the sprawling buildings next door, merely out of neighborly grace.

I found another option that could make up for the disparity in a lady I met on my walk. I noticed a group of children gathered around her with their notebooks. I stopped by and asked her if she was running a school here. She is Mira of Navjyot foundation. She said that she comes there every morning 7:30 to 8:30 am to help local kids with their homework and other questions. She said that the NGO does not need money but they need people to donate time to join her every morning.

As I walked away from her and her volunteers being surrounded by kids, I was left with a sense of hope knowing that the neighbors care.

I feel that the obvious disparity that exists could depress me, but the efforts to bridge the divide certainly left me with a deep sense of hope.

Get Involved with the Navjyot Foundation: Contact Mira Mamnani 
[ Phone: +91 9004390819, +91 9819421398, +91 2226409348; Address: 52, New Silver Home, 15 New Kantwadi Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050 ]


  1. very true. we need more volunteers to inspire the children for thirst and hunger of knowledge.

  2. very true.n we need more volunteers to inspire the children for thirst and hunger of knowledge.



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