Slum Fun

An American, a German, and English and I all decided to get a train to where the slums of Mumbai are located. As we walk in all eyes are on us. The four white females walking into what feels like a whole different place to the Mumbai we had known from the days previous. And it was. The poverty was higher, the dirt was more extreme but the thing I loved about it was that the smiles were genuine. These people were happy. So happy. Yes, there was the odd person who would ask for money like the rest of India but most of them were just interested in who you were and why you were there. We stopped for some food, watched a cricket game and were taken upon the stage of a strange wrestling match. Something that I have noticed since being in India is that in random situations for unknown reasons I tend to ‘posh it up’ with my English. The wrestling match was one of these situations. And when they handed me a microphone during half-time, the conversation went something like this:

‘So what do you think of the tournament here in India?’

‘Oh my goodness, I think that the tournament here is absolutely fantastic thank you very much!’

‘Do you think you will be playing later?’

‘Oh, indeed. I think I shall be playing in the tournament later!’

Even as I’m saying it in my extra posh tone with my beaming eyes and bobbing head, I am fully aware that I sound like an absolute idiot. But at this point nothing can stop me. I then discuss this with the other girls to which they also noticed how much my voice and speech changed. I got a look from the other English girl which I read as ‘You did sound like a complete fool but you’re English like me, so I shall accept it and judge you no further.’


This all happened in the bigger roads of the community and so we decided as a group to enter the more unknown. The smaller roads which get to all of the homes of families and nothing but pure darkness when the sun goes down. It was here that we met a lovely lady who spoke superb English given the fact that she was female (Normally women aren’t allowed to get a better education than the men as it makes them harder to marry off.) We informed her of our curiosity of their lives but made it clear that we sincerely mean no disrespect and insult to them in us being here. She said that they were all fine with us being there and then got, what I believe to be her son, to show us around for 15-20 minutes. Without him we would have been lost. At many points we thought we were in the same place as previous but were then proved very wrong.

At the end we all got ready for the argument regarding money and how much this sweet little boy would ask for and what would be a good and fair amount to give to him. But at the end, he just left. This certainly put a smile on my face, as it’s these genuinely nice people who are willing you help you out just so that they can have some time in your company who balance it out from the money grabbers. It is these honest and happy people which I came to see here in India.