Bombay is often regarded as India's Capital of Hope. Often wondering why this is so, I made
a fruitful trip down to the busy city, solving most of my queries.
Bombay consists of seven islands, joined by land reclamation. Many Indians, especially those
from the rural areas, regard Bombay as their paradise, since they could find work relatively easily
here, as compared to their homelands.
Being the pillar for revenue collection, Bombay's economic growth has far outperformed the
other cities. In fact, its per capita (head) production of goods and services is about three times
greater than that of Delhi - India's second most prosperous city. Despite the economic boom,
Bombay gives me an astonishing image of deterioration when I first stepped into the city.
The ostentatiously dignified imperial buildings, erected by the British, are so overly
populated that they look as if they are toppling over any minute. There are the 1950s kind of
black and yellow taxis, which appeared as if brutally thrashed, lining up like ants trails, clotting
up the small avenues. Amidst the dins of traffic jams, stood the oppressed-looking buildings of
Benetton outlets, foreign car dealerships, croissant-serving outlets and so on.
Though unemployment is not a significant problem in Bombay, housing is. A visit in Dharavi, a
slum area in Bombay will help clarify our imagination.
The Bombayites' so called
"houses" are actually movable shacks, built from unwanted bits of tarpaulin, tin and cardboard.
There are so many of them that a maze of alleys emerged, passable only when I walked sideways
like a crab between them. Curious about the living conditions, I wondered around the maze,
meeting groups of scantily clad kids and hungry, stray dogs. Popping my
inquisitive head into one
of the small huts, I was totally amazed by their living conditions. Estimating about twelve or
more Bombayites living in each hut, these two-storey houses are usually partitioned by rough
platforms with ceilings no higher than five feet from the ground. Furthermore, `these shacks look
absolutely bare -- no furniture and I deduced that the inhabitants eat and sleep
on the ground.
In spite of the poor living conditions, many Indians still hope to
migrate to Bombay. Interviewing a few of the newcomers, a majority of them
said that they came to Bombay to find jobs. There are some who regard Bombay
as buoyant floats, saving them from natural disasters and tyrannies in their
Despite its economic boom, the conditions in Bombay are
always chaotic. The existing buildings in Bombay are overly
inhabited by the large population. With more immigrants
flooding in, the emergence of slums is inevitable. The "houses"
there, are actually shacks made from unwanted materials like
tarpaulin and cardboard. These shacks flooded the streets,
creating a maze, with spaces passable only if one walks
sideways. The two stories, small huts, divided by rough
platforms, often have low ceilings which are no more than five
feet from the ground. These shabby huts are also barely
furnished. Kids are usually seen running around with minimal
clothes on them. Furthermore, traffic jams, usually caused by
old, shabby taxis are common, daily sights there.
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