Mumbai is a place of juxtapositions. It is a third world country, make no mistake, but it is also a highly developed one, and this contrast is startling. To exit a large shopping mall and encounter an emaciated family begging for change; to drive through city streets amongst Audis and BMWs and see women sorting through trash and children hauling bricks by wheelbarrow; it makes one wonder how this is possible.
There is no middle ground – there is rich and there is poor, and the poor is far more so than I have ever seen. I have seen women and children begging for money before, but that was in Europe, where the poor are relatively few and far between, and therefore better fed. Here, there are simply too many. There is not enough charity to go around, and the result is abject poverty for a fairly large percentage of the population. The thing that kills is that there really isn’t anything I can do. I gave a young girl some money today, and then took her picture, and I think that is what I will continue to do – in the hopes that someone might get some food they otherwise would not have, and so maybe by seeing a photo more people will begin to care that there is something seriously wrong with the way we live.