Hi fellow bloggers, This is my first day at blogging. Emboldened my people's comments that i write well i have decided to try my hand at it, officially. More like make a ceremony of it. I am going to be writing on the times we live in, the way i see things. A lot that happens around me influences me, my opinions and i feel the need to air my views, make myself heard. Pretty hedonistic ( i looked in the dic'ary for that word and am not sure if i am using it correctly. It refers to behaviour that is motivated by the desire for pleasure). Since i will be writing with the sole aim of deriving pleasure from it without giving a thought to the hapless souls who will be reading it, i guess it does become a hedonistic activity on my part. Sorry folks.
Slumdog Millionaire has been all over the papers lately. The debate of India's underbelly being in full Oscar glare has come up again. First it were Indian directors doing it and now the foreign directors are also happy exposing , or can we say "espousing" it also. So much so that the author of the book on which the movie is based, Vikas Swarup's Q&A has had to defend his book saying that it is not " Poverty Porn". The Sunday Times of 18th Jan has an entire page devoted to writeups connected to the movie- "There's something about Mumbai", "From Bambai to Mumbai". There's even an article on Anil Kapoor donating the entire money he got for the movie to a social cause. What i found distressing was a writeup by a britisher Chris Way who regularly organises slum tours to Dharavi, Mumbai for his privileged friends back home. "Poverty Tourism"? It raises many q's in my mind. Are our lives up for show just coz we live differently? Taking it a little further then are the visits going to be reciprocated with invitations to come see how they live? If the tourists are taking back "admiration for the spirit of the people that live there" are they not commenting on the squalid living conditions? Is'nt their opinion of India being a dirty, filthy third world country only getting reiterated? What is it with we indians, we get all touchy about our underbellies being in full view? Is it the same as standing outside the Buckingham Palace and commenting on how the british royalty lives? Does "Poverty tourism" become okay if it brings in tourists and consequently cash which i believe is being used for community development projects? So in that sense then the movie becomes a huge ad for Mr. Chris Way's tourism venture. Does the tourist go back with a feeling of having been magnaminous?
In a country that has so much to offer a tourist culturally, architecturally and spiritually i am loathe if a westerner just sees its ugly sides and departs, charity or no charity!