My eyeballs literally almost popped out when I came across this website offering ‘Slum tourism’ to westerners. This explains the recent phenomena of a hell lot of western celebrities making a beeline to explore, out of all the places, Indian slums. The website claimed that this ‘concept’ is picking up really well among westerners who want to explore the ‘Real India’. Oh God, kill me please! Somebody tell them, there is no Real India. There is just Dual India.
Btw, this is completely besides the point, but I secretly blame Slumdog <beep> millionaire for this day. A lot of critics and people on IMDB described this godforsaken movie as the, wait for it..Feel good movie of the Decade. I mean, seriously? The one perception which takes the cake is ‘Indians are poor but happy people’. Really! What are you? A sadist?
Let me not digress any further and make a serious point. Look at the picture below of Hooverville, Seattle and the world’s favourite slums (blah!), Dharavi, Mumbai:
For people who came in late, this is America during the 1930-40’s Great Depression. After President Roosevelt launched a series of programs aptly named ‘New Deal’ and the feeling of ‘regime certainty’ came back, America gradually came out of its problems. See, I just summed it up very conveniently in 2-3 lines, but of course it took years of monumental efforts from the government as well as the people to come of it. Google it later to know how, when, why, what etc. I have exceeded the word limit given to me already. 😐
Blame my eternal optimism, but from a layman’s point of view, what I really want to take away from these two pictures is: Things can become OK. Stealing/twisting Modi’s favourite quote. Acche din aa sakte hain.It will clearly take us years to get things right in our country and then another couple of years to get the perception of ‘India is a dirty shithole’ out of the world’s mind.
So why don’t we start today and report issues on www.ChangeBhai.in and contribute in our own small way to make India a better place to live. Unless, of course, we are comfortable with being a prime ‘slum tourism’ destination for the world.