Saturday, 6 June 2009

Facing the truth...

Personally, the significant meaning of this mumbai field trip is making sure that the truth is always in the place, so that I can break up my illusion about the city ‘mumbai as an emerging market’ by facing the truth. Before the trip, I red not only many articles, several books, and pictures but also saw diverse movies including several bollywood movies, documentaries and TV programmes. By doing so, I made an effort to understand the reality of mumbai and I endeavored to recognise what shell we do in mumbai field trip through two presentation. However, when I arrived at the mumbai international airport, I realised that the information from those pictures and writings might be the biased reality through someone’s lens. My skin began to feel the hot humid mumbai weather and my nose began to be sensitive to peculiar smell. Realising the reality of mumbai was starting from then on.

During the Dharavi field trip, I saw that a dead guy and a napping guy lied together on the street. People’s face looking them weren’t visibly shaken. At the same place dirty little children played around, someone kept selling food and someone took a rest under the shadow. It was a shock for me. In spite of seeing lots of scenes through several medium in advance, it was difficult for me to adopt the fact that everything in those scenes were all the reality.

However, that was not the whole scenery of the mumbai city. The area of Culaba to where we sometimes went for dinner was totally different from those ones. Along the seaside, there were in a row of colonial style mansions and luxurious hotels, various nice shops, and expensive restaurants being crowded with many tourists. It was comparable to the commercial area which I could see in London.

It was Mumbai where the extreme poverty and wealth exist at the same space. Those big gaps could be seen in relationships between various religions as well as politics being related with a cast system. In that city, people kept going on their daily life. During the interview with Sheela, she mentioned about those gaps and emphasized the importance of that the city should be changed incrementally. In order to do that, she noted that the middle-scale built environment is necessary not only in Mumbai but also in India. (but ironically, she also wanted to show off the situation that several prominent universities over the world are interested in mumbai. She also seemed not free from the black or white logic.)

Another personal meaning of this field trip is making close friends to help each other. Our most works consisted with several kinds of team work and at the same time, we should live together in a foreign country. It was a sort of stress as well as another opportunity. Under the complex Dharavi's local context, I was struggling to find the way how to approach toward the proper redevelopment in mumbai and I argued with my colleagues to find those solutions. Through the discussion with them, I found friends who could recognise the difference and similarity between us and helped each other in various way.

Our mumbai field work is on going in London. Yesterday we did our last presentation and also learned a lot from critics. We have to ‘scale up’ a final report of mumbai field trip until this wednesday. After then, (may be) I can reflect more in depth about my field trip? Because I am yet navigating to find better solution.

JUNG, Su Eun

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