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It’s war! Mumbai resident sips chai atop rubble to hit out at BMC

Genesia Alves, a writer from Mumbai, has recreated an iconic WWII photograph to protest rubble that’s been left uncleared outside her home.

mumbai Updated: Apr 27, 2017 09:17 IST
Anesha George
Anesha George
Hindustan Times
BMC,Bandra,Mumbai roads
Genesia Alves sips tea atop the heap of rubble, recreating the iconic picture from 1940 of a woman sipping tea atop a mound of debris after a German air raid during World War II. (Via @genesiaalves on Twitter )

Tired of groaning and grumbling and seeing nothing change, Genesia Alves decided to do something ‘fun’ with the pile of rubble that had been sitting outside her Bandra home since February.

It is, of course, part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) never-ending road work.

Early on Tuesday, Alves teamed up with her 16-year-old daughter Amaia and recreated an iconic World War II photograph, by posing on top of the heap of rubble on St Paul’s Road.

“When I first saw the iconic photo of a woman drinking tea in the aftermath of the 1940 London Blitz, the image stayed with me, especially that look of calm in the chaos,” says Alves, a freelance journalist. “Finally, last morning, when the ever mounting pile reached the right height, I told my family, ‘That’s it. I’m going to recreate the picture because that heap’s almost asking for it.’”

Then began their little covert operation. “We knew that the BMC workers come in a little after 10 am, so we quickly got the props together,” she says. She borrowed a dress from Amaia, grabbed a mug, tied her hair in a turban, even placed a piece of folded paper in her pocket to recreate the picture to the smallest details.

“We were constantly giggling. My daughter quickly clicked two pictures, while I ignored the incredulous stares from passers-by and we ran off before being questioned,” she says.

At home, she posted the picture on Twitter, calling it her tribute to BMC’s ongoing work. It’s had more than 60,000 impressions and 350 retweets.

“My brother called from Dubai to tell me someone sent it to him. It’s being shared by Bandra ALMs on WhatsApp as well, although I don’t know if anyone from the BMC has seen it yet. To be frank, it’s gone a bit mad on social media,” she says, laughing sheepishly.

This is not her first dig at the civic body. A week ago, she posted this tweet below inviting anyone doing a post-apocalyptic shoot to head to her dug-up stretch and shoot it there.

“That silly picture has had people amused, bemused and all fired up. I’d love it to become a trend, where others can come up with creative ways of throwing light on the callousness of the BMC, letting them know that we can’t live like this. At least then they might take us common folk more seriously,” Alves says.

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 21:01 IST