“I do not tell my college friends where I stay so that they don’t judge me,” said a young boy from the slum in Delhi where we stayed for two days last summer. The confession, or revelation, made while he sported an innocent smile, did not come as a surprise to us. We are a diverse set of people, divided into the lines of caste, religion, class, etc and have built innumerable stereotypes about each other over a period of time. Thanks to the Bollywood films which do not hold back in always portraying slum-dwellers as potential criminals.
As we met outside Supreme Court in January 2016 and talked about creating a platform to bring people closer to each other in order to break these stereotypes, or at least make a difference, the idea of people’s project was born. Over the next few months, we met and contemplated over a number of things which could be done to make it unique. Finally, we reached a conclusion. We were going to show people a humane angle, a personal side of everyone. Not numbers but real people invoking love and not sympathy of the superior.
The entire project was planned in months and laying down the ground for its implementation took an equal time. Multiple visits were made to the location, the whole idea was explained to the people and dates were fixed according to everyone’s comfort. Another factor which played a major impediment was a budget which was close to negligible. However, the final product turned out to be beautiful.
People’s project now aims at taking it forward by visiting and living with people from different backgrounds, facing different problems. The people everyone has known as mere numbers or facts in the news. We wish to live with them, experience what they go through and hopefully in future take more interested people along with us. The goal is ambiguous but ambitious at the same time. As you embark on this journey of ‘living in a slum with us’, we hope you like it.