Forever Under Construction

Keep Smiling

Posted in Children, Photo, Photoblog by homeyra on July 17, 2007

india_mumbaiday1_govandislums1.jpg

Seeing things
Courtesy of Mohamed Somji

The following is written by Mohamed:

“This is a house in Govandi – a slum area in Mumbai that is competing with Dharavi, another slum area for the title of the largest slum in Asia (and probably the world). I have never, ever seen poverty and squalor as I did in these slums and the only redeeming thing was the innocent children who exuded carefree happiness and a naive ambiguity about the state of affairs that they seem to be in. They obviously know no better and they are happy playing in the dirt pools and running around bare feet and naked.

This boy’s name is Mohamed Ali and he lives in that room with his five siblings and parents. The garlands on the top right of the picture is what they produce. The whole family chips in and after a full day of work, they make 60 rupees for them. That’s a dollar and twenty five cents and that is supposed to feed the whole family. However, the little boy just kept smiling at us unaware of the struggles he will have to undertake in the not so distant future. I hope he keeps smiling..

The NGO that I am accompanying has contributed towards better housing which you can see in the picture within the slums and also provide for schooling for a lucky few.”

… and we are here … debating!

Update:Kilroy has fallen in love with this picture, and he “sees things” 🙂 – comment below

homerya-garlands.jpg

7 Responses

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  1. 99 said, on July 17, 2007 at 9:37 am

    OMG! What a sweet face!

    Whenever I start feeling too sorry for myself, I think of kids like this. At one point in my life I had all but forgotten to do it, and a dear friend sat and listened to my litany of complaints, and said, at length, “And just think! Still you have it better than 95% of the people on earth.” I leapt up and hugged him for all I was worth.

    People wonder where my bluntness comes from. His picture is above.

  2. Kilroy said, on July 17, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    I love photoblogs. They tell us so much about each other. I can spend hours and hours.

    Thanks Homeyra. You find the best things!

  3. homeyra said, on July 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    A sweet and beaming face, he owns the world.
    and thank you Kilroy 🙂

  4. Kilroy said, on July 18, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I copied this image into photoshop. It’s a bad habit I have or a way of seeing more of the world, applying various effects to give me the illusion that I can see beneath the surface of things. My favorite is a screen layer copy with fifteen percent transparency and find edges with a tiny pixel blur of 1 or 1.5. You can hardly notice it, but it gives it a surreal feeling.

    Anyway. There was something extra special for me in this picture revealed by the “find edges” filter . When I panned in to enlarge this boy’s beautiful smile, I saw what appear to me to be the words “I love you” on the wall next to him. I must be insane. I swear that’s what it says to me. Maybe it says “Garlands” in Hindi or something – a poor man’s billboard. That beautiful smile says it all, but some of us need it spelled out!

  5. Saleh said, on July 18, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    wonderful shot but sad story…

  6. Mohamed said, on July 19, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Thanks Kilroy for your feedback re the picture I posted. I didn’t play too much with the image so I didn’t notice the ‘I luv you” but willd efinitely go back and see the hi-res again – its a fascinating find given the circumstances.

    I immediately took to the boy when I saw him and his smile is forever etched in my memory. I’ll be posting a few more images that touched me during my trip..

  7. homeyra said, on July 20, 2007 at 7:19 am

    Great picture Kilroy, and as Ann puts it eloquently: “Wow — luminous! Like shafts of lights bathing the room and Mohamed Ali.” And you brought the other Mohamed to the blog:)
    Now his smile is forever etched in our memories too. The new photo on you blog is also a powerful one. Thanks Mohamed to make us “see things”.
    Hi Saleh 🙂


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