It was real ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ for a group of US girls

February 2nd, 2009 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 2 (IANS) A group of young women from the US and Canada, including some Indian Americans, have been floored by the never-say-die spirit of people living in a slum here - bringing home the reality of award-winning Hollywood film “Slumdog Millionaire”. Their visit to Bapu Dham colony, a slum area on the outskirts of the city, Monday gave them a first-hand experience of the way the people live, and how despite their tough conditions they have managed to make the most of their lives.

“It is for the first time in my life that I visited any slum area. I was surprised to see that despite living in demanding conditions where there is no privacy and basic amenities, the residents have a broad smile on their faces,” Indian-origin Sophia Hameed (17), who stays in Florida, US, told IANS Monday.

“It was a great experience to hold and hug those little kids and I believe that I will not have this chance again in my life,” said Hameed, who studies in 12th standard in a Miami high school in Florida.

“Before coming to India, I had preconceived notions that the place was brimming with problems. However, all this changed when I found people enjoying their lives to the hilt. In fact, they treat outsiders with great affection,” said Petina Dixon, who works at the Chicago-based headquarters of Rotary International in the US.

Anna Holmbraker, 17, of Florida was equally impressed with the hospitable and friendly nature of the people. She has seen the Golden Globe award winner “Slumdog Millionaire” and believes “it deserves to win an Oscar”.

The girls were here to participate in a two-day voluntary work for the National Immunisation Day (NID) campaign here Feb 1-2.

Meylys Swaby Ramirez, a 22-year-old investment agent from Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, will be going back with profound memories of Indian culture. And she displayed it by wearing a nose pin and getting mehandi (colourful henna art) done on her palms.

“I cannot describe in words the happiness of visiting these under-privileged kids right at their homes. It was so overwhelming that I have been left speechless. The memory of their innocent faces is still fresh in my memory,” stated Ramirez, who is visiting India for the first time.

Talking about Chandigarh, she said: “This place is aptly called ‘city beautiful’ as everything is so well planned here. Roads are wide, people are helpful and warm and I certainly want to come here again at the earliest.”

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