Yesterday started off as a normal day - catching up on the news, preparing for the day ahead - you know, the usual. We stay at this lovely apartment, 'Versova Kiran,' at 4 Bungalows, MHADA. The only thing that's not lovely about this place is that it overlooks a micro mini Dharavi. It has been a little more than one year and we have made peace with the fact that they exist. Yesterday noon all of a sudden, two bulldozers, a dozen cops or may be more barged in and razed a major chunk of the allegedly illegal hutments to the ground. It was by far one of the most bizarre visuals I had ever seen.
Throughout the day we kept a watch on the proceedings, much to our shock. The biggest shocker that struck us was the reaction of the people living there. Other than a group of few loud men and women who were yelling at the cops, the rest seem to be okay about it. As if they were prepared for this day - I don't know if they were warned or not, but they were gathering their belongings and walking around as if it was business as usual. We saw so many of them laughing and recording the visuals on their smart phones. We for sure wouldn't react like that if it had happened to us.
Another thing that caught our eyes were the belongings of these so-called poor people living in this slum - some had air conditioners, and kitchen equipment which were better than what we have. It made me wonder are they really poor? My wise mother-in-law said that these people have rented out the flats they have been given by the government so that they can live off the rent that they get from there. I found it hard to believe, but I have seen it in some films, so...
By around 6:00pm the cops and bulldozers were gone, and the people living there had already started piecing their shattered huts back - only that they didn't have roofs, at least not for last night. Basically what we have now is a bigger mess, as they have occupied other half of the road as well. All I am asking is, what will happen next? Will these people be displaced for good? Who will clean up this bigger mess created by whoever came up with this new 'surgical strike' or whatever that was?
Trust me, it's an ugly visual. Hope sanity is restored soon.
Will update this blog, and keep y'all posted.