Slumdog Lakhpati ya Crorepati
I guess that many in the west would still like to think of us as slumdog millionaires, or rather slumdogs. A term that is still applicable to a staggering number of populations still living in slum across cities. In fact, those of us who have not had a rich ancestry, not lived in a village or a small town, or have arrived on the scene before the British left, have probably been living in slums.
Slums are not really confined to Dharavi. But very much exist in upmarket areas of Worli, even Walkeshwar and Malabar hill. The CM’s bungalow has a slum within its premises. The concept of slums has a universal appeal. They stretch from Rio and Trinidad to Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and back to California.
Again, public baths and toilets were frequent in the Mohenjo-Daro days as well. I guess we never grew out of that civilization. Some relics may still seem like everyday items in old households.
Some years ago, it started with a demand for upscale accommodation and now it stretches to social acceptance. Please do not glorify slums. They are nothing to be happy about even if they create millionaires or billionaires. Whether it be the cast or the crew of the movie, they are all happy about the slumdog. A movie based on the book by Vikas Swarup. Flipkart sent me a preview in my mailbox – available with heavy discounts. Looks like there will be many who will spawn off the movie to become the next slumdog crorepati!
Don’t be surprised, if the next applicant for the CFO’s vacancy walks in with a card, describing himself as a slumdog. Sure, that slum guy knows his value has skyrocketed, what with both Bafta and Oscar in his pocket. Hey, the world is watching him, and not you with your four wheel drive and two bhk, rented at twenty grand a month. He, on the other hand, is wearing the latest ‘street ka mall’, which comprises of imitation jeans, flashy t-shirts, chunky watches, hero- style dark glasses, and a ‘happydent’ smile. He may be the next big brand for the west. He will sell ten more soaps, more then the best mba around the place. The new ‘munnabhai mbbs’ is here to stay. Like it or not, it is an image brandished with pride by the out-of-work, brash unemployed youth from the (ahem) slums.
So, sit back and watch, as the offices swell with sauntering and confident wannabe slumdog millionaires. After all why bother with the term slumdog when it can make you the millions, maybe even the billions.