Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Slice of Mumbai - A Lesson on Friendship

We started our day by learning Bollywood Dance from Rupal, a young, budding and extremely talented lady, who started the day for the children in a very positive and energetic way. The kids took to liking her right away, and managed to learn some of the steps they’ve seen their favorite actors dance too.

Post this high energy session, they met my group of friends who have been a part of my life and experiences of years now, and it was a day planned with them.
Our first stop was at the exhibition called At Home, presented by Dekha Undekha – Conversations in Art & Health, an initiative of a non-profit by the name of SNEHA, that works in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai.
Getting to the exhibition was an experience by itself, as it is situated in the heart of the commotion of Dharavi.

So, packed in four cars, we drove thru the by lanes of Dharavi to reach the school where the exhibition is placed. The children were not very happy with the streets and lanes of Dharavi, full of people, dirt and other litter. But, when they walked into the exhibition area, all their faces lit up !

The exhibition itself was like as if we had walked into Alice’s wonderland from a street of disaster.
At Home: Conversations, is an extremely creative exhibition of art pieces related to everyday life, hurdles, stories and experiences of the women who live in the Dharavi slums. Using textiles, ceramics, painting and photography as mediums, the pieces have been painlessly created by the women themselves, and believe me it cannot be said it is the work of novices.
The display, the workmanship, the concepts are very very professional and compete with any professional work out there in the market.
A must see for all in Mumbai.

Coming back to our children, they had walked into Alice in Wonderland, and the first question in all their minds was "Why is such a lovely exhibition in a filthy congested place like this? "

Their questions were very nicely answered by the women artists themselves who personally took them thru each display, explaining the concept. Then, Priya Agarwal, one of the SNEHA’s managers, conducted a short creative exercise with the kids, and added their tiny artworks as well to the exhibition as well.

After an hour of learning and seeing beautiful art, it was time for my friends to take over the day. They wanted to let the children let their hair down a little and see a little of the city life. So, the first stop was lunch at a food court, which is like the most common eating joint visited by most city dwellers, since it gives you a choice of food. The kids had their first MacDonald’s Burger! Excitement Galore!

The lunch went as long as a four course meal! Then, we were all invited to Neesha’s house for Tea, and so they got to also see a typical Mumbai household.

After Tea, they were taken to a dog show organized by the K9 Club of Mumbai, and surprisingly all of them are animal lovers, and if they were given a chance each of them would have all adopted a pup each which were out for adoption.

We then returned by early evening to the campus. I thought they would be all tierd and would want to relax, but somehow their energy levels were high, and did not want my friends to leave, as they had all picked their favorites based on the conversations of sports to movies and food that they had with them. Also, the group wanted to present the dance they learnt in the morning to the friends.
So, we had an impromptu dance session, followed by a name game, in which the friends also joined. Eddy, Neesha, Hersh, Sheena, Prarthana, Kartik and Prachi. It was interesting and fun for the kids to have the adults play this game with them.

We ended the day with a little feedback session, and a lot of positive points as well as negative points came out, like they wanted to see more of Mumbai, not knowing that there is another field tour planned for them, the boys who are outnumbered wanted to play at the gaming zone of the Mall, but all in all a good day for them.
At the end the objective was for them to realize the Power Of Friendship, which they understood by spending the day with a group of friends who practically live and support each other everyday !

Thank you Eddy, Neesha, Hersh, Sheena, Prarthana, Kartik and Prachi, I can guarantee you that the kids are going to remember atleast one of you for the rest of their lives, and you have made them feel very special today, and surely motivated to keep working towards their dreams.


  1. Such an awesome exp fr each one of them!!!
    Thks a lot Juhie and all the people associated with it!!!

  2. The day was absolutely fulfilling.. but the highlight was the evening after we returned to TISS. The enthusiasm with which they presented their dances for us was overwhelming. Sharing session was something else. Realised that just by sharing our thoughts and ideas, kicks off a process called 'friendship'.. something we take for granted these days. Juhi: totally appreciated the day spent with the kids and the gang.
    Much love to all

  3. Looks like all our kids - both from Mumbai & Goa are enjoying themselves thoroughly! Thx Juhi for this opportunity.

    Just cant connect to you both. So pls tell the children we miss them, love them and I sincerely hope they make the best use of this opportunity.

    Much love to all,

  4. Thanks Juhi for giving us a wonderful opportunity to connect with the kids and spend the day with them. I was very heartened to note that the children are confident, smart, enthusiastic, aspire to better their lives and most importantly are able to articulate their thoughts and desires so well. Loved the exhibition and the fabulous dance performances. Wishing each child grows equipped to make their dreams comes true, and wishing them a lot of love and cheer.

    Keep up the brilliant work!