Deonar youth to showcase ‘their Mumbai’ in SoBo
Barely a kilometre away from the Deonar dumping ground, a group of youngsters between the ages of 12 to 20, all residents of M-East ward, are practicing for an upcoming show in south Mumbai next week.
Yeh Bhi Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan [This too is Mumbai, my dear] — to be held at YB Chavan Auditorium in Nariman Point on June 14 — is a collection of 10 drama, dance and music acts put together by youths from Govandi, Shivaji Nagar and Makhurd.
On the set list is Govandi Ki Kahaani, a skit about a slum resident, who is looking for a job but fails to get one because of his socio-economic background; a mime act about the challenges faced by a Denoar tea seller in his journey to success; and a dance about a girl not allowed to go to school.
M-East ward, home to the country’s largest dumping ground, has the lowest human development index among all 24 wards in the city, according to United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Mumbai Human Development report 2009. The report also shows life expectancy here can be as low as 39 years.
“The only link between residents of this ward and the rest of the city seems to be the garbage which arrives to the dumping ground. The idea [behind the performance] is to show the rest of Mumbaiites what life is like here,” said Arun Kumar, CEO of Apnalaya, an NGO working with slum residents of the ward.
“The performers are so excited to go to south Mumbai for the first time. Most of the girls here have never even stepped outside Shivaji Nagar,” said Chandrika Rao, program director with the NGO. Over the last one month, practices are being conducted at the NGO’s centre in Denoar, between 11am and 6pm. “We like to dance and so sometimes, we used to practice in the dump yard,” said Fakhruddin Sayyed, 20, one of the participants.