The city is doomed if the virus overwhelms Dharavi

Drone shots of a deserted Marine Drive promenade, a stark Gateway of India and photographs of peacocks sauntering in South Mumbai’s quintessential Parsi Colony, straying in from Doongerwadi have been the staple of conversations among middle class Mumnaikars during the lockdown.

But despite being among the world’s top 20 wealthiest cities, ahead of Toronto, Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris, Mumbai actually lives in the network of serpentine lanes in and around Dadar’s Ranade Road and KabutarKhana. Real Mumbai is in the ‘Koliwadas’, in the streets of Lohar Chal and Zaveri Bazar, in Masjidbandar, in old ‘Laal Bazar’ area – now known as the ill-famed ‘Kamathipura’, in the alleys of Vile-Parle as well as Jogeshwari and, in the teeming ‘gullies’ of Dharavi. Nearly half of Mumbai’s population – the real Mumbai, lives in trying conditions, in densely inhabited one-room tenements or in slums.

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