What Mumbai Stands to Lose When Chawls Turn to Skyscrapers


What Mumbai Stands to Lose When Chawls Turn to Skyscrapers

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


f you’ve taken your eyes off your mobile phone recently, you’d have noticed that the city you live in, is changing. Our sprawling city of sewers, slums, and housing societies, is getting a facelift. That exercise comes with clean beaches, sleek flyovers, promenades, and walkable sidewalks where until a few years ago only gutters overflowed. It’s like a city-sized Brazilian wax has been undertaken to complement the steel and glass towers that are now taking over the Mumbai skyline.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to live in a city where a block of chawls with a common toilet located next to a garbage dump is giving way to hygienic, livable, and safe homes, but Mumbai seems to have gone straight from slumdog to millionaire with no pit stop in between. The buildings that are taking the place of chawls are straight out of Manhattan with noiseless chrome elevators and French names that make actual French people cringe. What was once a small Christian colony with old bakeries from where Church-going aunties picked up fresh laadi paav, will soon be replaced by the new Kanakia Miami with a Starbucks that serves a juicy couture hottie.