Monsoon in Lallubhai

Monsoon in Lallubhai

What does the monsoon do, when it falls over a 40+ acre, 6-7 storey high forest of concrete, broken chips, plaster, glass and asphalt known as Lallubhai Compound in Mankhurd?

The answer here is produced by a group of 8-14 year olds who frequent a library and experimental community space, a group of us run at Lallubhai compound since 2016, called after the housing type, R and R. The shots they filmed, mostly in 2019, make up the discrete “scenes” in the video we made, below.

Lallubhai compound is Mumbai’s largest resettlement and rehabilitation colony, built in the wake of a large infrastructural project, the MUTP (Mumbai Urban Transport Project)- II. The compound is built over creek-beds emptying into Thane Creek, as it merges with the Arabian Sea. It is now surrounded by Nalas (large drains) on three sides, which are traces of the old creeks, but now carry the burdens of a city by the sea. Water and people are displaced, how will they adjust?

The Monsoon of this video crashes into and wets the urban landscape in a way that unleashes physical phenomena, human animal and vegetal responses, old and new. When these crystallise or take shape on video, we could call them image-ideas, which could inform our future thinking and doing in this kind of environment. For example, from the video: flotation as release, learning to swim in the city, floating trash, plastic, garbage, sewage, overflow, rot, rust or transformation, moss green or black, gradients of dryness, labour of staying dry, surrender to rain, rain fictions, plant bodies, rat bodies, scooter bodies, building bodies. In the last part of the video we follow a nearby Nala backwards, to a surprising origin. This suggests a kind of archaeology of the human-made ecosystem, by now as complex and stratified as its “natural’ layers, and whose hybrid analysis we must develop.

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