Mahim East is perhaps not an area in Mumbai that attracts tourists in hordes. As the train approaches Mahim Junction, I’m struck by the extreme and poor settlements along the railway line and the amount of garbage is overwhelming.
Mahim East is also home to Dharavi, for many years known as Asia’s largest slum. Slum is a broad term and not always about poverty, but also entrepreneurship and – surprisingly for many – wealth, as in parts of Dharavi. The way people choose to live doesn’t always reflect their general standard of life.
We are on our way to Mahim to look at street art, largely huge murals in strong colours and vigorous expressions. We walk around with our necks bent towards the sky to be sure not to miss anything, and we admire what we see.
What primarily characterizes the murals is their size. Entire end-walls of many buildings are covered with colourful drawings and you must have a good wide angle on your camera to capture it all. Over the years, the rainy season has been putting its mark on the buildings’ facades. The rain, mixed with pollution, has mixed new lines into the art and given it a completely new texture.
Mahim East, like so many other districts in Mumbai, is almost a city of its own. The lower middle class as we know it in India lives and works here, and the district is partly characterized by poverty. The large murals are part of a project that wants to beautify the decrepit expression of the district and many different artists, including foreign ones, have contributed.
Some tour guides will take you to Mahim East as part of a visit to Dharavi.
The Zamorin of Bombay took me to Mahim East.