My first impression of a public hearing is visual image of a large auditorium and people lining up to speak at a microphone. This hearing turned out to be a little different.
The public hearing was a chance for the community which suffered at the hands of the Delhi Development Association (DDA) with over 6,000 people losing their homes. The settlement is still in tatters.
To get there, we started at the metro. The metro runs parallel to the main road, then there is a residential community, apartment buildings, then a fence reveals a large field with tons of kids playing cricket, some in their whites. Past the field there is gate and it almost looks like a dump and there the community is.
A tent was up by the time we got there, pink and orange. Some people were already sitting the shade. We all tried to find shade though my cheeks would be burned pink by the end of the day.
As usual, the conversation was exclusively in Hindi but still there was so much to absorb. The different members of the community spoke about how the bulldozers affected them—the voices were loaded with emotion and tears broke through more than once.
I listened, watched, smiled, offered water and went for a walk around the property. Everyone who saw me had a smile, so different from walking the streets in the city. One girl pointed at my many mosquito bites.
I was most surprised by just how many people lived in this crumbling place and the liveliness to it. There were shops open, dogs roaming, and even a barber doing business in the shade.
I am running out of words however, to understand these living conditions and these ruins.