Slumming It Review: Down In The Dumps
SLUMMING IT: Thursday 14th January, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME
Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud jetted off to India and lived on the streets for a bit, I’m just trying figure out if it was worth it.
Under the pretense of learning about communities and whatnot, Kev headed down to the worst place imaginable to grow up: the hellhole slums of Mumbai.
Apparently, lots of people have said that the answers to urban living’s problems can be found in slums. While their general state of living is terrible, crime rates are low and traditional family values are still in tact.
So the architect guy from telly jetted off to Dharavi where thousands upon thousands of people live in substandard accommodation with minimal access to clean water.
Rats, toxic sludge and human excrement are rife resulting in every other word out of Kev’s mouth to be ‘crap’ or ‘shit’. His experience is a shock to the system; Kev’s a middle class white guy who’s used to talking to other rich, white, middle class people about the extravagant homes they’re building. It might seem like a fruitless exercise but the more Kevin explores, the mores it seems that there might be a few things we could learn.
Families do almost everything together; they work together in community areas, doing their laundry (in disgustingly filthy water) and they mostly all sleep in one room. But no matter how bad things are for them or how poor they may be, they still take pride in themselves; children all go to school in immaculate uniforms, despite having slept on the floor with rats the night before. It does seems to throw Western problems into perspective.
Kevin also heard tell of a self made millionaire who still lives in the slums. I assumed that it would some crazy old man but in fact a smart young man in a suit greeted Kevin. Providing people in the slums with jobs and putting money back into the community was a high priority for the businessman. The term ‘love thy neighbour’ seems to actually mean something in Mumbai.
On the whole the show is interesting but it seems to be a thinly veiled attempt at showcasing the poverty of the slums to the West. Keep tuned for part 2 when we might actually get to the real root of life in the slums.