Glimpses of Versova on a photo walk

Walking around Versova with a camera lens reveals a microcosm of Mumbai, of expensive high-rises cheek by jowl to poor slums.

Versova intrigues me greatly. I recently relocated there from another city, and on my way to Madh Island for shoots, I would look out and watch the area intently. One evening, I set out to photograph the area.

Versova exudes a very sophisticated vibe as soon as you arrive there. On either side of JP Road are several cafes, restaurants, studios, and casting offices, recruiting actors for films and television. Yari Road and Seven Bungalows are home to high-rise apartments and commercial buildings, some with enviable sea-facing views. A trip away by the Versova jetty is Madh island, a popular filming location.

Two men in a rickshaw
Two friends who work as auto rickshaw drivers having their evening snack. Pic: Aaqil Abdul Rahman

The landscape begins to change as you get closer to the finish line. The populace gradually changes, the area gets progressively dirtier and stinkier. The roads are much narrower. These are slums, informal settlements characterised by overcrowding, poor living conditions, and limited access to basic services. They lack access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. These factors compound together to make them prone to environmental and health hazards, including flooding and pollution. Welfare schemes to improve their conditions have been ineffective and insufficient.

This marriage of opposites, rich and poor, next door to each other is unique to Mumbai; the high-income population lives in close proximity to extreme poverty.

A man laying on a hand cart
A worker taking rest after heavy labour. Pic: Aaqil Abdul Rahman

The “choice” of the poor to live in these conditions makes sense when you consider that the cost of housing in Mumbai is high, and even higher in Versova. At an average of Rs 31,610 per square foot, buying a small house with only one room and a kitchen can cost upwards of Rs 30 lakh and renting one will easily cost more than Rs 10,000. Many low-income families and migrant workers cannot afford this while supporting their families.


Read more: Growing up in an informal settlement in Mumbai


The state government has launched several housing schemes, such as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, which aim to provide affordable housing to low-income families. However, the execution of such schemes is often criticised as inadequate and not reaching the targeted population. It has not been enough to keep up with the rapid population growth and urbanization in the city.

Being perceptive and capturing these photos left me with a lasting impression of the societal difference around. I’m hopeful that things will improve soon and we can help everyone dream larger ambitions in the city of dreams.

Two kids playing next to a pillar at a construction site in Versova
While their parents toil as labourers on the construction site, children play in structures that are still being built. Pic: Aaqil Abdul Rahman

Also read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Addressing pet dog attacks: A balance between regulation and compassion

Government intervention is necessary to prevent indiscriminate breeding and trade of pet dogs, and more shelters are needed for abandoned pets.

Recently, two pet Rottweiler dogs attacked a five-year-old child and her mother in a  Corporation park in Nungambakkam, Chennai. Based on a complaint following the incident, police arrested the owners of the dog for negligence and endangering the lives of others (IPC Section 289 and 336). As General Manager-Administration of the Blue Cross of India, I have seen several Rottweilers over the years. While there are laws to address such situations, there needs to be adequate awareness among pet owners that dogs like Rottweilers should be taken for a walk only on a leash. A major portion of the responsibility…

Similar Story

Bardhaman town’s tourism potential: Why it must be developed

West Bengal's Bardhaman town has immense tourism potential. Its development must prioritise sustainable tourism and civic development.

Bardhaman town, renowned for its Bengali sweets like mihidana and sitabhog, is also famous for its rich tapestry of folk culture and heritage sites. The town has immense potential for tourism. But the question arises, how much of it has been explored?   This article aims to shed light on Bardhaman's historical sites, the initiatives to promote tourism while addressing the civic issues hindering its progress, and highlight the need to balance tourism with sustainable development.  Heritage sites of Bardhaman Sher Afghan’s tomb  Located beside Pir Beharam, close to Rajbati, lies the  tomb of Sher Afghan, the resting place of the last…