A Peek “Behind The Beautiful Forevers”! My “Wednesday Bookmobile” Has The Harrowing Story Of Life In A Mumbai Slum!

Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity!

I wanted to share an amazing, although sobering, book about a way of life you probably could never imagine – as the Author describes here:

“Abdul grabbed a fresh shirt and flew. Across the clearing, down a zigzag lane of huts, out onto a rubbled road. Garbage and Water Buffalo, slum-side. Glimmerglass Hyatt on the other. Fumbling with shirt buttons as he ran. After two hundred yards he gained the wide thoroughfare that led to the airport, which was bordered by blooming gardens, pretties of a city he barely knew.”

This “Wednesday Bookmobile” heads to India’s biggest city – with a powerful look at how people survive in this environment.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Katherine Boo takes you on a journey into one of the world’s largest slums – which is located just past Mumbai’s airport:

The book’s title references huge billboards that were put up along the side of the road leaving the airport – it read “The Beautiful Forevers”…and on the other side, hidden from visitor to Mumbai, was this:

“Behind The Beautiful Forevers!”

This 2012 book was the winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction – as the book’s website states:

“In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl”—will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

The website goes on to give more details on the intricate story that unfolds in the book:

“But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.”

Katherine Boo tells a compelling true story that plays out as a real-life thriller…there are magical places to visit in India, but this isn’t one of them – and Boo captures what daily life is like in Mumbai’s notorious slums…

I love travel books, even when they take you to the underbelly of a country, and Boo’s book is ultimately a call to action – and the government has tried to solve this issue in the past, but it continues to be a huge problem for India…but they aren’t alone:

Iconic Travel Writer Paul Theroux has written several books about his journeys to Africa, but his last trip was his most dangerous of all:

Theroux taks you to the slums of Capetown South Africa and beyond, as he looks at how aid to Africa has actually made things worse….you can see more about this powerful book here:


If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…


If you enjoy these posts, please help me get the word out and share on social media and and with your friends – and leave a comment to let me know if you’ve ever been to India!

Categories: Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, Politics, Pop Culture, Real Estate, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Great post. Looks like a good read about the sad facts of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very tragic, John, especially as India has such a huge and growing population there is little home of it improving. Now with C-19 this will be much worse. The Cape Flats are very dangerous. Their are unruly gangs of drug pushing desperate criminals. Interestingly enough, the squatter camps in Cape Town have been very badly hit by C-19 compared to other cities in South Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like a great read about a horrible scenario

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a list of the Billionaires in India, (In USD, not rupees) not even bothering to list the Millionaires.
    I find it incomprehensible (and shameful) how a supposedly democratic and forward-thinking country can tolerate such poverty for a huge percentage of its population.
    Well done to her for highlighting those conditions.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete, I pointed out to someone else that conditions like this exist in most countries in some way…not to this degree, but it’s a worldwide problem as much as an Indian one…that said, for a country of 1-billion to have 350-million living in poor conditions is sad…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt with Rebecca Moon Ruark

Take It Easy

Retired, not expired: words from the after(work)life. And music. Lots of music!

Hey, Traveler

Sharing travel tips, ideas, and anecdotes with fellow wanderers, dreamers, doers, and lovers of life

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

Cornwall in Colours

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

Bonjour From Brittany

Celebrating what makes Brittany unique

Let's Go To The Movies

Film and Theatre Lover!

SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Bringing you yesterday's news from Japan and Asia, today.

Bite! Eat! Repeat!

52 Cookbooks. 52 Recipes. A Tasty 2022!

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Tanooki Homemade Cafe

Yummy Homemade Food Recipes to Make You Smile:)

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

Pete Springer

Passionate Teacher and Future Children's Author


Follow us as we follow the road


Travel Through Ireland and Europe

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Geeking Out about It

BlerdWatching Waaay Too Much TV


Tea, Tours and Escapades

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

You can always start now

journaling to see some answers

Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

You can take the girl out of Glasgow. Entertainment Reviews from a Wee Scottish Wife and Stepmum living in Finland.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, essays, and more!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews

Cindy Bruchman

Photography. Observations. Adventures. Let's talk.

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health


The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Adventures and Misadventures in Boulder, Colorado

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

Admit One Film Addict

Psychotropic Cinema and more

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists


Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!


Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

%d bloggers like this: