Govandi has many things to offer. After the day spent at the Dharavi slum Mewsic center, we traveled east to Govandi, where the other music center is located, and where other children attend. Govandi is mainly known for the surrounding waste dump, one of the three that Mumbai has. It also offers a diverse palette of cultures and religions all situated in a very close and dense area. From the three-story rooftops, one can see the mosque which through its call to prayer gives the community an every day soundtrack. When we first arrived, there were no attendants. On the first floor of the community center, a group of hindi women were having a meeting and watching an instructional video about birth control. While we waited on the second floor, we spoke some more with Mahesh (music tutor) about the concept and idea for the documentary project. He gave very valuable insight regarding the children’s backgrounds, why they chose to learn music, and some of the feedback he has gotten from the children while at Mewsic.
After a while, the room slowly started to be filled with after-school kids, since usually the music classes start around 12:30 or 1:00 pm. Almost half of the children came thinking the session was for dance, but chose to stay and watch the guitar and keyboard students practice their Bollywood item numbers. This session was also very intriguing. We played with the harmonium, adding more depth and texture to the songs they were playing. After the session, we walked around the community, not only getting some footage, but also observing the day-to-day activities of the people, their micro-businesses, and inevitably, the conditions they currently live in.
With some time to spare today, due to the Independence Day preparations, the Elephanta caves were an ideal destiny to start immersing myself in the hindi culture and tradition. The tumultuous ferry ride (due to the unpredictable monsoon weather) takes around 45 minutes. After a 10 minute walk uphill, 7 caves and many monkey thieves welcome people. Looking forward to Independence day celebrations!