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Author & Journalist
Champion of Lost Causes

Date & Time

Wed, 17 Aug 2022


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India
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All of Mumbai’s memories and castaway possessions come to die at the Deonar garbage mountains. And among these vast, teetering piles of discarded things – medical waste, rotten food, old clothes, broken glass and twisted metal – a small, forgotten community lives and works. Scouring the dump for whatever can be resold or recycled, waste pickers also mark the familiar milestones of babies born, love found, illnesses suffered and recovered from. Like a mirror image, their stories are shaped by the influx of unwanted things from the world outside.

But now, as Deonar’s toxic halo becomes undeniable, a change is coming. And as officials try to close it, the lives that the pickers have built on the Mountain seem more fragile than ever.

In this episode of BIC Talks, author of Mountain Tales: Love and Loss in the Municipality of Castaway Belongings, Saumya Roy and V Ravichandar, full time champion of lost causes and hon. Director of Bangalore international centre, delve deep into the process of writing this powerful and delightful book about people who are trapped in the gravitational force of a garbage mountain in Mumbai centred around a deeply moving love story with unforgettable characters while also illuminating a country and a culture.

Read Saumya’s contribution to the collection on India at 75 by Pen America


Saumya Roy

Author & Journalist

Saumya Roy is a journalist and activist based in Mumbai. She has written for Forbes India magazine, Mint newspaper, Outlook magazine, wsj.com, thewire.in and Bloomberg News among others. In 2010 she co- founded Vandana Foundation to support the livelihoods of Mumbai’s poorest micro entrepreneurs by giving small, low interest loans.

She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Blue Mountain Center, Carey Institute for Global Good and Sangam House to write this book. She attended a conference on environmental humanities at KTH, Stockholm in 2017 to share her research, and contributed a chapter to Dharavi: The Cities Within/ (HarperCollins, 2013), an anthology of essays on Asia’s largest slum.

Roy was a fellow of the National Foundation of India in 2012, and has Masters Degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and Mumbai’s Sophia College, where she teaches magazine writing.

Her first book, Mountain Tales: Love and Loss in the Municipality of Castaway Belongings, will be published by Profile in 2021.

V Ravichandar

Champion of Lost Causes

Ravichandar is Non Executive Chairman, Feedback Consulting and Honorary Director, Bangalore International Centre. He is also the Honorary Consul, Republic of Slovenia in Bengaluru.

Ravichandar was a key member of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) during 2000-04. Ravichandar along with three others was involved in making the case for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JN-NURM). Since 2006 he has been evangelizing the idea of City Connect involving business, civil society and government. He was part of the 3 member Government Expert Committee tasked with reimaging governance and administration for Bengaluru. He was Co-Chair of the Karnataka Tourism Vision Group.

Ravichandar has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Ravichandar is part of multiple social and cultural initiatives – Bangalore International Centre; Bangalore Literature Festival; Education for the underprivileged through Vidya Poshak, Samhita Academy, Akshara Foundation; Takshashila Institution; Citizen Matters; Attakkalari, etc.