Young and Eager
Slum huts, Hazarat Nizzammudin, India
Nizamuddin railway station is conveniently located near South Delhi and is one of the rail hubs connecting many of the major cities of India. A short distance from the train station is a slum known as Madras Camp. It is pictured across from the waterway where the outdoor market is located. Many of the Madras Camp residents shop there for food and clothing. Madras Camp has a small temple at one end that is cared for by the community members primarily made up of families who work as cleaners and other domestic help.
From the outdoor market we walked through the main walkway to the temple at the far. The picture of the walkway, from the temple looking towards the market, shows the simple rows of homes connected with a common roof on either side. There was only “borrowed” electricity on this street, yet you will notice the required satellite dish on almost every rooftop. The waterway behind the homes is used as restroom facilities and sewage system.
As we walked down the street, a small group began to follow, mostly curious about why we were there. Many of the parents wanted us to take pictures of their families and some proudly showed us the homework from the few that attended a nearby school.
We ran into Maheshwari, a striking girl with the pink traditional Indian dress in the doorway. She is also pictured in her home with her family. She is 17 years old and lives with her mother, father, and brother in a 6 by 6 foot area. She discontinued her education in order to help with the family both working and preparing meals. She is currently learning how to stitch and wants to earn her living working as a seamstress where she can work indoors. She prepares most of the family meals, works about 30 hours a week doing work in some of the homes nearby and watches some of the neighborhood kids (two of which are pictured in one of the photographs.) Her parents both work full time as laborers. She and her brother sleep on the floor with blankets. She is grateful that she has a loving family and believes her parents are very strict. She doesn’t do anything outside of the house besides work and go to temple. She does not have a boy-friend and says that that marriage will be arranged by her parents when she is ready. She says that if she were ever to go to the United States it would be a dream come true and she would try to bring her family there and never come back.
As we continued down the street we ran into a couple of elders that often preached the virtues of Hinduism.