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Book Discussion: Poor Little Rich Slum
  • These are the stories of the little people who make up the Big Idea of Dharavi. Let us talk about the book and the story of these people who are stars in their own right.
  • I liked this book very much. Thanks to Blog Adda and the author for sending this book.

    I am sure each story presented in this book could have been a book in itself. I liked the section on the entrepreneurs of Dharavi. The kind of grit and enterprise they have showed in building up their little organizations is very impressive. They have set a good example to others by using their advantages (minimum cost of production, availability of raw materials nearby, etc) to the maximum.

    I was not able to relate to the social entrepreneurs, though. Its more to do with my ignorance, than their portrayal in the book. I am not sure how many such social organizations really achieve anything worthwhile? Is there a way to measure the results of all their work? Has their work been productive? Is there a better way to do certain things? Though some of them may have good intentions, are everyone like that? No idea!

    The book makes us to question a lot of things and therein lies the success of the author. I wish more people in India could come out with books like this.
  • It is an awesome book and I am so glad that I won it on the Blogadda book review giveaway. My favourite story was that of Srini helping the kids to learn. We really need many more Srini's in this world.
    It is sad that redevelopment has been stuck up and for so many years. But I really wonder about the 'legality' of what JockingSir intends to do. True, people have lived there for a long time, but the land per se would be that of the government, wouldn't it? Anyway, I guess the government should be thankful for any kind of just and fair redevelopment scheme. At times, it is self help groups and NGOs and local bodies which manage to do what the government is unable to do.

    The url of my book review is here:
    http://www.booksonmyshelves.blogspot.in/2012/07/poor-little-rich-slum.html
  • Thank you blogadda for sending me this brilliant book.

    What I liked the most about the book:
    1.The writing: PLRS never stoops down to (the level of) ‘poverty porn’,neither does it try to cash in the ‘slum relocation-Mumbai development’ sentiments.The book is a genuine/honest account of what the authors saw in Asia’s largest slum.
    2.The book design: The folks at studio ABD deserve special mention.The book has got a wonderful lay out and design.The font (size) could have been bigger though.
    3.The photos by Dee Gandhi: The lively and beautiful photos by Dee Gandhi has enormously helped this book. A book like PLRS would have definitely become monotonous had the authors not included those beautiful snaps.The selection of photos as well as their placement in the book gives the reader the feeling of having taken a tour through the streets of Dharavi.

    What I didn’t like:
    1.The book has got a number of sentences/quotes/conversations in Hindi. I wish they had given their English translation too. It would have definitely helped the South Indian/Non Hindi speaking (like me) readers well as the International readers.
    2.The book is only 184 pages long.The book got over leaving me wanting for more!This is one book that celebrates the spirit of human enterprise,in it’s natural form-raw and extreme. A Must Read!

    my review of the book can be read here-
    http://nikhimenon.blogspot.in/2012/07/book-reviewpoor-little-rich-slum-by.html
  • Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful and sincere reviews. What I love about reviews by bloggers (as opposed to 'critics') is that they share their personal experience of a book. And help others decide if a book is worth spending time and money on. It's not an intellectual exercise... And, you guys actually *read* the book as opposed to skimming through or doing your job.

    Nikhil - in the original draft I had kept translation of all HIndi phrases in brackets but... it really disturbed the flow of the book. I don't have a solution to this issue except to say not understanding a few phrases does not spoil your experience of reading. For those who *do* understand it adds a lot to their experience.

    I cannot please *everyone* :)

    Re; length of book it was not for lack of material. However, 'more' would have become repetitive and so we carefully chose people and stories which could represent 'the whole'.
  • @Rashmi: Thanks for joining the discussion. Quite a few of my blog readers who are based overseas are buying the Kindle version. One of them just posted, that she has just got the book. Perhaps, the translation could have been by way of footnotes or as an annexure. I am sure my overseas pals will come back with the same concern, but I will gladly translate it for them.
    Cheers,
    Lubna
    http://www.booksonmyshelves.blogspot.com
  • @Rashmi : The book was honest, endearing and touching. It left me as amazed as you must've been experiencing Dharavi firsthand. Kudos to the effort and I agree with Nikhil regarding the 'wanting more' part :) My review is here :

    http://lazythinktank.blogspot.in/2012/07/book-review-poor-little-rich-slum.html
  • I loved reading this book. It has changed my ideas and made me embrace non fiction like never before. Here is my review- short and simple!

    http://dreamers-chronicles.blogspot.com/2012/07/book-review-poor-little-rich-slum.html
  • I think the length was fine. I feel that it's more about how much an author can tell within a certain number words, that matters these days. In other words, efficiency is very important. Many of us don't have the time or patience to read 300/500 pages. Though the book appears to be short, it feels complete. And is within the reading duration that most of us can spare.

    The photos are great, but their print quality could have been better. But it's understandable as the publisher might have wanted to keep the price of the book within an affordable range. Maybe the author could make a coffee table book edition with minimum words but lot of high quality pictures. Pictures have their own appeal.
  • Hello Rashmi,

    The book is fantastic, very well written. The love and the effort involved in making this venture a reality, a book that everyone can read, relish, reflect upon and understand can be seen well.
    Kudos to you, to Deepak and to Dee.

    I understand you have written many other books of social relevance. I would love to read and review them too. People like you make a difference.

    All the very best.
    Shail Raghuvanshi
    http://musenmotivation.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/why-the-poor-little-rich-slum-matters/
  • Hi!

    I found this book really interesting, primarily because it's so different! We get to know things we otherwise couldn't know, we feel inspired with the zest and the will to do something that's inherent in every Dharavi resident, it's great! The pictures by Dee Gandhi really add a lot to the book. It wouldn't have been engaging otherwise, because it's always great to be visualizing things while reading and when the book helps you do that, it's even better! :)

    Also, I really liked the ending, thoughtful comments towards the end of each chapter. They really made me think. I mean, when you read about motivated individuals in a slum area, doing their 'own' thing, you can't help feeling awed by those facts. I especially loved the story of Jameel Shah, the one who makes dancing shoes! Really, is the middle class way of life really better?

    I've recommended this book to my peers and teachers in college. I'm sure we'll be discussing this one! :) Great work by the authors! Andd the photographer!

    Read my complete review here:
    http://bookwormreviews9.blogspot.in/2012/07/review-poor-little-rich-slum.html

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