Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nischala's Blog-o-Review | Book - Poor Little Rich Slum BY Ramhmi Bansal & Deepak Gandhi

Name of Book :Poor Little Rich Slum
Author :Rashmi Bansal and Deepak Gandhi
Category :Non-Fiction
Price :Rs 250 (But you are getting very good discounts if you buy the book online)
Pages : 204
Publisher : Westland
Publishing Year :2012
ISBN : 978-93-81626-18-4

Book Synopsis
"Poor Little Rich Slum" is a book about Dharavi - One of the largest slums in Mumbai. The book provides details about the history - primarily through conversations with people associated with Dharavi. Mostly Dharavi residents and change-agents (from different walks of life) who have a history, passion & association with Dharavi.

The book is divided in to four sections:
1. Dharavi What Ees’?
2. The Incubator
3. Cauldron of Change
4. The Future

Part 1 talks mostly about how Dharavi came to be, and how people migrated from different parts of India to Mumbai, and made Dharavi their own home. And how they live their every-day life amidst the most basic amenities & limited resources (from the real-estate space to water to electricity to personal hygiene, etc.)

Part 2 talks about the "entrepreneurial spirit" that  has been fostered by human need for survival amidst the situations and circumstances of dwelling in a slum. And also highlights some of the success stories of individuals who have achieved the heights of entrepreneurial success starting from humble beginning - through hard work, persistence and exploiting business opportunities

Part 3 talks about  the various individuals and organizations that are working to bring change in Dharavi. There are activists, social workers, medical workers, musicians, NGOs and even body-building trainers.  They are the other "real-life models and true heroes" of Dharavi- who give hope to others, and also nurture dreams in other Dharavi residents

Part 4 talks about the future, and possibilities of how things can evolve towards the re-development of the slum.

What I liked about the Book?
* Well written and structured book
* Easy to read as the chapters run a few pages, and each chapter tells a different story. So you can read the book in multiple sittings, and still get the entire essence in its entirety
* Abundant use of photographs - Great camera work by Dee Gandhi
* After long, it was a book which had a splash of color (in contrast to all the other books I've read of late) - Was a welcome change to the eyes!
* Told the stories using a combination of history, facts, figures, quotes, relevant poetry, observations and very 'real and insightful' first person conversations
* Focused on topic, themes and aspects that is little known to the world in a way that has not really been said before - So a great topic to learn about, hear about, share about and think about

Book Ruminations
* The book states facts as they exist around the living conditions at Dharavi, the day to day problems / challenges / struggles of people, and yet how they find the strength, courage and hope to dream and live amidst all the "bad and ugly" which is integral to their lives.

* The book will firstly make you thankful for all that you have, and all that you take for granted - be it living space, a roof to live under, basic day-to-day necessities (food, clothing, water, etc.), education, jobs, income, a clean living environment, etc - All the things which we generally take for granted and tend to over-look in the hustle-bustle of everyday life

* The book will open your eyes to how people can live amidst the most difficult and harsh "living conditions" and yet continue to "truly live life" and even "follow their dreams" - despite and amidst everything

* The book will inspire you especially as you can draw inspiration from the real-life success stories of people who "survived in spite of all odds" through sheer hard work, determination, passion, capitalizing on an opportunity at the opportune time and a thirst to do something with their lives.

* The book will also make you wonder about the "adaptability of individuals" in any kind of human conditions, and fight / struggle - but yet survive! And the survivor usually takes it all!

* Lastly, the book will also make you ponder about "How resistant we are to change?" - Even if the change may be a positive change, and could impact our lives in a good way - We sometimes find it so hard to let-go of the familiar and known, possibly because of the fear of the unknown!

Nischala's Final Ratings
Writing Style : A
Message and Take-away : Book is a great collection of real-life stories and situations that plague real-people living in Dharavi (The largest slum in Asia). It will make you think, be grateful for all that you have (and many times ignore or simply take for granted) & also hope and pray for a better tomorrow for the people living here. Most importantly, you can draw inspiration from normal individuals living in the "toughest life conditions".
Overall Rating : A

To check out earlier posts from Nischala's Blog-o-Review, click here
For a sneak peak of upcoming review, check out What's on Nischala's Bookshelf for 2013

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