Archive for December, 2009

Dharavi’s varied texture of life

Posted on December 23, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under International.

I spent last Saturday in Dharavi, Mumbai’s famous slum. Here is my GlobalPost blog about life there.

When we first arrive in Dharavi, one of Asia’s biggest slums and the set of much of “Slumdog Millionaire,” we walk along a main drag, called 90 Feet Road, and see small kiosks lining the streets selling chips and betel nut, butcher shops with carcasses on display, a couple wandering goats and residential high rises. It is hot, dirty and overcrowded — not exactly unusual for Mumbai.

Then a group of boys find us, and everything changes. It is the people that make any city come alive. These boys become our window into this complicated maze of narrow alleyways, tiny apartments and shacks of corrugated metals that exists only a 20-minute train ride from downtown Mumbai but could not feel further away from the fancy hotels and Malabar Hill homes.

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In India, Sex on the Beach Comes with a Price Tag

Posted on December 12, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International.

Here is my second “Reporter’s Notebook” for GlobalPost. It’s about prostitutes and cocktails at Juhu Beach.

We pay the 120 rupees (about $2.50) for our drinks, gather our belongings and leave behind the well-dressed Indian youth enjoying light conversation as they smoke hookahs. We run across the street, careful to not get hit by the speeding rickshaws, and arrive at the other Mumbai. On this side of the street, along the Juhu beach and near the Juhu Police Station, one can buy a prostitute for less than the price of our lemonade and chai tea.

I am with Rajendar Menen, a journalist and author formerly with the Times of India who has spent 20-odd years covering Mumbai’s sex workers and drug addicts. Raj has offered to help me learn about the darker side of Mumbai, and we will start, he says, with a walk along the Juhu beach.

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Mumbai Arrival: Sweet Tea, Noisy Rickshaws and New Friends

Posted on December 8, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, travel.

I arrived safe and sound in Mumbai last week. Here’s my first piece. It’s a “reporter’s notebook” column for GlobalPost about my first impressions and the people I have met so far.

I walk out of my new apartment in Pali Hill, Mumbai, and I ask a man near the elevator how to get to a cafe that has free WiFi. He explains that if I don’t have an account with an Internet company set up, I cannot simply use WiFi. I will need all sorts of proof of residence and identity to set up an account, he says.

It turns out that he is wrong about the WiFi. Nonetheless, rather than refer me to an Internet shop or wish me luck in my futile attempts, his solution is to have me borrow his laptop. He gives me his computer, his Internet card and a cup of tea before knowing my name.

I arrived in Mumbai five days ago to work for GlobalPost as their correspondent and marketing consultant here. I must say, I chose well. Indians – or at least the ones I have met – are strikingly generous, warm and hospitable.

Continue reading here.

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