Coco Bombay does Bollywood
Posted on March 05 2018
(Faces have been blanked out for the girl’s safety)
As a thank you for their amazing hard work and a last goodbye, I took the girls for dinner and a movie at the R City Mall here in Mumbai. Entering the mall for me was overwhelming, as it is seriously one of the most extravagant shopping centers that I’ve ever seen! For the girls they were in shock. As we walked past the shops, I watched them gazing around as if they were on another planet. I was reminded of a section from the book ‘Shantaram’ in which the writer first encounters poverty in Mumbai for the first time. He expresses an immense guilt for just having the money in his pocket. I was cringing as we passed Forever21, M.A.C and Adidas. Cringing at the pure unfairness of it all. I noticed the children inside the Hamley’s toy store dragging their parents from shelf to shelf. I looked at Aruna, Nalini and Dipika whose children have been put into orphanages and my heart broke a little for them.
When we reached the food court I asked everyone what they wanted to eat. They were totally overwhelmed with the options. When I suggested pizza, one of them asked what it was and it was explained as roti with tomatoes and cheese (not very Italian but quite accurate) which she didn’t seem impressed by. We ended up in KFC. I saw Nalini was trembling a lot and I was told that she hadn’t taken her HIV medication today so this was the result. Yet again I was reminded of the immense struggles that she and the other girls are facing every day, and how me as a Westerner can’t just swan in and ‘save the day’.
Five hundred selfies later and we entered the cinema complex. Nalini exclaimed how the floor was so clean that she could see her reflection in it. Tasting ice cream from the ice cream counter was another experience that they had never had. It’s just insane what we take for granted as simple pleasures in life.
The movie was so fun and the girls laughed through the whole thing. The music was so uplifting and it took us all to a fantasy, luxury world for 2.5 hours (not going to lie that it was a crazy long time to sit through a Hindi movie with no subtitles) but I was so happy that the girls were happy. We danced out of the cinema and Nalini was the most talkative that I’ve ever seen her. I hope that Rags tribe will grow more and more and the girls will be able to enjoy more of life’s pleasures, but most importantly to get their lives together so that they can get children back.