Archive for March, 2009

dharavi1Three times in the past week, I’ve unexpectedly been a participant in conversations regarding Mumbai’s hottest new tourist spot: Dharavi. In case any of you missed the Slumdog Millionaire bus (er, bulldozer?), Dharavi has the dubious honor of being Asia’s largest slum. It houses upwards of 1 million people over a 175 hectare expanse of marshy land in the northern part of the city. First-time international visitors to Mumbai may be surprised, upon descent of their aircraft, to see the runway nestled against a sea of seemingly makeshift blue tarp and corrugated metal. Yup, that’s Dharavi.

Eight Academy awards and several Vogue cover shoots later, Mumbai has entered something of a post-Slumdog era. Local newspapers have always covered Dharavi, but now they actually take the trouble to talk to residents. International DJ’s are keen on using the area’s vivid neighborhoods as backdrops for their sickest new parties. And of course, slum tourism is shooting up faster than Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting.

Note: I must confess that I have not yet been on a tour of Dharavi, so my opinions here are based primarily on hearsay. Then again, I’ve worked as a consultant for over two years, so I’m quite accustomed to this :) (more…)


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obama-outfitted-podium-toptop_storyFor those of you who haven’t discovered the sheer comic brilliance of The Onion, please check out “America’s Finest News Source” now. Wait, not now. First finish reading!

So this week’s top story, titled “Obama outfitted with 238 motion capture sensors for 3-D record of presidency,” chronicles the excitement felt by area historians on how they can capture the president’s every “landmark” move: (more…)

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Every society needs visionaries. Individuals who see clear potential for a “better” future while recognizing the complexity of today’s limitations. Individuals who can see the big steps needed to get entire health care and economic systems back on track. Individuals who quietly push those around them to think and act outside the norm.

These folks aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. While innumerable armchair philosophers can offer grandiose visions of a better tomorrow, few can back it with enough intelligence, passion, and some degree of pragmatic know-how to make it credible. And even fewer can do it well enough (and be lucky enough) to start an international movement and effectively change life forever after.

After considerable internal debate, I believe that Mohammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, may be one of today’s best living examples of a true visionary. (more…)

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