Dharavi is a day away, a memory, it seems, rather than a reality as I sit at my computer. But then I turn around and look out the window. I can see the Sea Link, and from that, a slum. No, Dharavi is not a memory. It is shockingly real. A day later, I am still at a loss for words. Multiple people have told me today that the answer to Dharavi is not blame - anger is no solution. But how, as a human, can I not feel angry. How can I not be enraged at the slum lord, the company, and the consumer whose actions maintain a system of oppression. I received an email today saying that perhaps it is best to not feel angry, but rather to feel an urge for action. But it seems to me that that urge for action cannot exist without anger. Once again, I am uncertain.
The man in the aluminum factory haunts my thoughts - the fire, melting the aluminum, that I allowed my eyes to blur into has seared itself into my mind. But perhaps it is best that it is there, for it is that fire that, in all truth, has brought me here. What to make of this man? The more I consider him and his plight, the less I see him as just part of Dharavi and the more he becomes a part of a system of oppression, something I wrote about last night. But what are we to do with this system? How can one person affect change? It is one thing to teach one child so that one child will not die in the aluminum factory. But what of thousands? I am uncertain.
A second sight haunts me as well. Yesterday, I went street shopping with my family. As I stood on the street, a young girl approached me. On her back was her baby sister. Through a friend who spoke Hindi, I asked her some questions. She is 9 years old. She has two sisters and three brothers. She has never been to school. Her parents are street cleaners. She is hungry. My host family gave this girl a pack of small candies, but I could not look her in the eye. It was not pity that prevented me from an honest interaction, but rather shame. But what I am to do? I am uncertain.
We see what is wrong, but what are we to do? The truth is that I do not have the answers. Does anyone? I am uncertain.
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