Now some of you may quail at the thought of an NGO organising a slum tour in which tourists are guided through these places to see how the other half lives. And they pay for this rather dubious privilege. This is nothing new, of course, such tours are organised in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and our very own Dharavi in Mumbai.
Such tours tug at the heartstrings of those who witness such enormous deprivation and, if all goes well, they will open their purse strings. But we are of the opinion that this idea must be developed upon. There are several sorts of unique tours we could offer. Let us not be coy about all this. We have all sorts of problems and we are mired in squalor in many areas.
Why not put this to use for the greater common good. We could, for example, organise a walk in the dark given the frequent power outages that we have. This would give the poor foreign saps, sorry tourists, a feel of how the average Indian lives. A salubrious walk along the promenade on the banks of the Yamuna would show firsthand the quantum of chemicals and garbage that goes into the river which was once the lifeline of this city.
And what would any tour be without a close encounter with our culture? Women tourists who are not comfortable with stares and, when possible, a quick feel ought to stay at home because that is the Indian man’s way of showing appreciation for the opposite sex.
To hook people, we must show them the breathless footage shot by the empress of empathy Oprah Winfrey while visiting Dharavi. She was all ‘gee gosh, y’all actually live in this room’ to a family of several people, hyperventilating about the human spirit.
The family who would have done anything to get away from that hellhole smiled lugubriously as she raved on and on. We could also have obstacle tours like ‘avoid the manhole’ one or cross the highway on foot without getting killed. The sky is the limit for those with imagination. For further queries, please be assured that we are available after we finish putting together the ‘spot the errors in this editorial’ quiz.