Castaway Mountain: Love and Loss Among the Wastepickers of Mumbai

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When offered a career choice, few would opt for garbage picking. Yet this is favored, or at least accepted, by many who earn a living dangerously plundering the Deodar garbage mountain in Mumbai, India. Despite spells of illness suffered due to the toxic surroundings, their lifestyle embraces schooling, healthcare, and the same rites of passage as those following more conventional pursuits.

Hundreds of trucks arrive daily to dump waste. The pickers favor metal, plastic bottles, glass, and broken appliances to sell profitably when extricated from the stinking, rotting food. Three dead infants tied in a plastic bag defy the idea that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as Farzana and her friends dig a burial place for their find.

Castaway Mountain follows three paths: Farzana’s daily work within the neighborhood and her mother’s volunteering for medical testing to provide basic necessities; a seemingly interminable legal battle led by Justice Oka to have the mountain refuse converted to energy; and a love story as Farzana recovers from a horrifying accident.

Saumya Roy writes compassionately, providing a compelling introduction to the darker side of a prosperous city where the township, replete with superstition and suffering, displays an unwavering persistence to challenge the hardships.


Reviewed By:

Author Saumya Roy
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 300 pages
Publisher Astra House
Publish Date 07-Sep-2021
ISBN 9781662600951
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2021
Category Science & Nature
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