the city has been over run with community based initiatives to upgrade or “beautify” their localities for the past few years. as some of you know i have been involved with some of these- like the churchgate project or the gateway of
yesterday one of our recent projects ‘the juhu market revitalization project’ held a stakeholder meeting in the stilt area of the school. i was quite impressed with the number of people that the group from ‘juhu together’ had managed to convince to come for the meeting- people of all types; from the shopkeepers, band members, from the village and from the apartments. a local band played live music and some aunties catered east indian food. everyone shouted a lot and spoke in broken english or anglicized hindi to communicate with the other. to have the language is such a relief. the local corporator also turned up and so did a group of young men from a santacruz slum who had completely transformed their area by providing a clean toilet with a computer classroom above it through funds from the world bank.
the thing about these events is that they can be completely unpredictable. local groups will never say what you want or expect them to say. and the discussions were just like that. everyone had their own agenda to peddle and was vociferous in stating its claim to prominence. what did we expect? still they were all quite enthusiastic and perhaps ‘phase 2’ of the project should emerge now.