In penning some international market research for Tracy Locke, I drew on my personal travel experience in Mumbai:
I have a friend in Mumbai named Brij. He, along with his mother, two brothers, his sister, and brother-in-law live together in a small flat in the Prem Nagar slums in Goregaon West, Mumbai. By any 1st World standard this is the thick of poverty. It’s crowded. There’s no internal plumbing. The narrow arterials unfold one into another, an endless web of alleyways so confined as to permit only the most cramped foot and bicycle traffic. But by the standards of the Prem Nagar, Brij and his relatives live on the good side of town.
Enclosed within, let's say, a quarter-kilometer radius of Brij's family flat is a distinctly higher level of general neighborhood upkeep, tidiness, organization, evidence of heartfelt tender love and care. A pleasant aesthetic both visually and emotionally (material and human). Trash and clutter aren’t as prolific, paint jobs are newer and more vibrant, bright smiles, a sense of relaxation, a pause on the hustle and other things hard to come by in this city are known here.
I was staying with another friend north of Goregaon West at a charmless highrise apartment complex in Malad. Later I’d spend three days in Mumbai’s prestige expat district, Bandra West. But it was Brij’s neighborhood that proved friendliest and most joyous among the many locales I’d visit during my stay in this city once known as Bombay. What a place for Brij to call home, a gem of hope buried deep inside an urban village where the outwardly poor flaunt their wealth.