Friday, December 5, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire recommended. Thoughts on Maximum City?

I saw the movie Slumdog Millionaire recently, and really enjoyed it. I managed to see it at a preview screening with the director, Danny Boyle (also of Trainspotting fame, among others). I spoke with him afterwards and he was incredibly unpretentious, interested, and talkative. He probably asked me more questions than I asked him! He confirmed that the movie was partly shot in Dharavi, a huge slum in the center of Mumbai/Bombay.

About a million people live in one square mile in Dharavi. I first heard about Dharavi on the radio a few months ago, and have read more about it since. There are even tour companies that bring tourists through Dharavi - something I definitely want to do on my longed-for visit to India.

Seeing the movie, and reading about the horrific attacks in Mumbai, reminded me of a book that was recommended by an Indian client - Maximum City. This is a highly-acclaimed book by Suketu Mehta about the history and development of this amazing city. I haven't read the book, however it's next on my (ever-growing) list.

Mehta wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on the Mumbai attacks:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Deportees staying away because of recession?

NPR's Morning Edition is doing a very interesting series this week about the US-Mexico border. This morning, the show discussed the fact that many undocument immigranted that are deported back to Mexico decide not to try to return to the US. Their reasons include the lack of jobs and the increased danger and difficuly in crossing the border. The show says "In the past, many of these migrants would immediately try to cross back into U.S. But now, with the economic downturn and beefed-up security measures along the border, an increasing number are saying it's not worth the trouble. "

One immigrant aid agency in Nogales, Mexico (at the Arizona border), states that it helped 689 people return to their Mexican homes in 2007, but has helped 6,000 in 2008 so far.

The series continues for the rest of this week: