Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to share a few images of two strong women I met in the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai, India. Yes, the same slum featured prominently (and rather inaccurately) in that famous movie.
Meet Paani and Bhura (I must confess, I may have the second name incorrect). I met these two women near a pottery works in Dharavi. They were resting from their day’s labors and were surrounded by children and grandchildren – all vying for their attention. Yet they sat quietly and peacefully talking together. As I approached, they motioned a welcome to me and indicated I should sit with them. Gladly, I did. As I do not speak Hindi and they did not speak English – we conversed with smiles, eye contact and hand motions. They pointed to my cameras and to themselves – I took that to mean they wanted a photo. I made several, showing them the back of camera so they could see the images. They smiled (but not for the camera) and posed a bit more. Eventually, Paani sent one of the children into a nearby house to bring out an old photo. The photo was of them in the streets of Dharavi, taken when they were young women. It was, of course, worn and faded, stuck to the glass. The frame falling apart. They then posed for me holding the photo. When I showed them that photo, they smiled and through our rudimentary communications, asked me to send them a copy. I managed to get their address. I will happily send Paani and Bhura these photos and hope they enjoy them as much as I do.