Jul 7, 2012

Book Review : Poor Little Rich Slum

Title: Poor Little Rich Slum
Authors: Rashmi Bansal, Deepak Gandhi
Photos: Dee Gandhi
Genre: Non fiction - Entrepreneurship

"Why would anyone write a book about a slum?," was the first thought that popped into my head when I came across this book in BlogAdda's book reviews program. I was hardly interested in reading the book. But sometime later, it was out of sheer curiosity that I Googled Rashmi Bansal. I learnt that she is the author of three bestsellers, with 'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish' being the most popular of them all.Critics were all praise for her and I was intrigued. I was eager to know what all the fuss was about. I immediately applied for the book in BlogAdda.

And after reading it, I am happy to say that I've become a fan of Rashmi Bansal! I've also learnt two lessons:
  1. Never judge a book based on its genre
  2. Do not be prejudiced
"Dharavi is an elephant of an issue with blind men scrambling all over it. Each sees a small part of the picture and considers it to be a whole." 

This is how 'Poor Little Rich Slum' begins. It is Rashmi Bansal's fourth book- an extraordinary take on an extraordinary slum!

Dharavi, once considered Asia's largest slum, is located in Mumbai, India. It is not just another slum; it is a goldmine of opportunities for its residents and outsiders alike. Each person views Dharavi differently and these varying viewpoints are beautifully presented in the first chapter of 'Poor Little Rich Slum'.

For example, consider this line:

"To the businessmen who operate in Dharavi, it is a convenience. Cheap labour and cheap rent make it a mega - hub of micro -enterprise."

It tells what Dharavi means to the businessmen and also why it is preferred by them.

PLRS is a book that is honest and thought provoking.

The book is divided into four sections:
  • Dharavi, What Ees?  introduces Dharavi to us, with its myriad hues
  • The Incubator contains the real life accounts of the entrepreneurs of Dharavi
  • Cauldron of Change talks about the 'agents of hope' - people who are working to bring about change in Dharavi
  • The Future contemplates about the future - what is in store for Dharavi?

Each section has a few chapters which are emphatically written and make for a compelling read. I must mention that I've never read such an interesting book in the non fiction genre before!

Rashmi Bansal 's style of writing is lucid and personal. She has turned a boring topic into a heart touching one with her unique style. Deepak Gandhi also deserves praise for his efforts in getting this book written.
Dee Gandhi needs a special mention here for capturing the essence of Dharavi with his lovely photographs. Kudos to all the three people for producing this amazing piece of work!

What I liked about the book:

Small chapters filled with tiny, self sufficient  paragraphs which tell a story of their own.

The pleasant narration which takes us beyond the grime in a slum and into the hearts of real people with entrepreneurial spirit in Dharavi.

What I disliked about the book:

The bilingual nature of the book - There is a little bit of Hindi thrown in here and there, which lends a regional feel, thus reducing universal appeal.

But without the use of Hindi, it would have been difficult to convey the opinions and emotions involved, so it is justified in a way.

My experience :

Reading 'Poor Little Rich Slum' has been an enriching and rewarding experience for me. I'm very thankful to the BlogAdda team for sending me the book.

I would like to end this post with a quote from the book:

"In other slums, people go to work; here they come looking for work. This is human spirit in its natural form- raw and extreme."

My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5    Must read

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!


Lazy ThinkTank said...

Simple and neat review. Loved that pic with the BlogAdda parcel! Now why didn't I think of that?! :)

Deepz said...

Thank you :) I read your review..it was very articulate and comprehensive!

debajyoti said...

sounds like a great book!! even i wouldn't read a book if it's on slums. but as you said it's a different book which offers a whole new perspective on Dharabi life.

brilliant review!!

Deepz said...

It is a great book! :) I am glad that you liked my review Debajyoti

Unknown said...

Interesting name of the book and interesting review :)

Deepz said...

Thank you Ghazala :)

Destination Infinity said...

I too loved this book. The author has a unique talent of giving a philosophical touch to normal stories being narrated in the book. That amazed me more than anything else, in the book.

Destination Infinity

Deepz said...

Yes, the philosophical approach turned my sympathy into empathy.
Thank you everyone for sharing your views! :))

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