Sometimes, we can have an experience that just smashes our stereotypes, perceptions and expectations.
On our trip travelling around India over Christmas, my husband Ross and I decided to do a ‘slum tour’ on our last day. Before the tour I admit to being a bit worried that it was “poverty tourism”, and I’d feel uncomfortable gawking at the less privileged.
Dharavi is the largest slum in Mumbai and the second largest in Asia. It is estimated that just over one million live in Dharavi, which spans just 535 acres, has a population density of an incredible 869,565 people per square mile.
There are approximately 5,000 businesses and 15,000 single-room factories in Dharavi. The slum is the most literate in the country, with a literacy rate of 69%.
I was expecting abject poverty, crime, filth and despair.
In fact, I came away completely inspired.
I’m writing this just after the two-minute silence marking 100 years since the end of World War 1.
I’m feeling reflective, moved and a bit disquieted. I apologise in advance if this reads like a bit of a rant – but here goes!
I think it’s wonderful that we remember and honour all the people who gave their lives in this conflict (and all conflicts since).
But I often wonder what we have really “learned” from this event, and others since – as we bow our heads for the two minutes of silence, and we watch world leaders laying down wreaths.
I realise this may be controversial for some… and I really feel it’s time now that we wake up as a society – to who we really are, and what is really going on.
I’m not for a minute ‘blaming’ anybody – and I realise that your average ‘Tommy’ had no choice but to go and die on the battlefields of France.
And I sometimes feel perplexed that as a species, we seem to keep repeating the same mistakes. Given how much we’ve learned about the material world, the universe, the human brain, and thousands of years of spiritual teachings – how come many people still seem to be so… asleep?