On the way, leaving Mumbai,
we passed immense and endless poverty.
As far as you can see, as far as you can drive, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people living in crumbling dilapidated apartments and high rises, mud huts, tin-covered shacks, tents. At a highway entrance a family under a sheet held up by sticks , barefoot children on the ramp, the mother squatting and washing or cooking in a pot on the curb.
the book mentioned in an earlier post is a call to action for the world to invest in these urban landing places, or else suffer untold consequences. The book sees these places, despite the suffering and infant mortality and despair, as places of great vitality and creativity and tracks how people come into them and contribute to new economies and then either return to their rural homes, or move out into the greater life of the city.
Leaving Mumbai, at one point a little boy came up to the window of the car when we were stopped. I didn’t have any change or small bills on me, so I didn’t roll down the window or give him anything. It made me very sad. He reminded me of my own son, Aidan.
Many say not to give, to volunteer somewhere if you want to help. But a few days later, in Pune, I gave some rupees to a woman, the only person who has approached me on the streets (apart from tourist sites), and the little connection we had was positive for both of us. It costs me almost nothing. It’s a connection. She needed it. Who knows what is the “best” thing to do? I felt better when I gave her something.
I don’ really feel adequate or knowledgeable enough to really say anything about the poverty here. Later, I may write about it more. I don’t feel capable now. I also didn’t want to take any photos of the poor.
Thanks for reading. Michael