Behind the Beautiful Forevers tells the intertwined stories of Annawadian residents who live day-to-day in order to pull themselves out of the Mumbai slums. The infrastructure of opportunity, like Gavin mentioned, revolves around socioeconomic class, caste, and the political connections one has. Katherine Boo’s use of different perceptions and narratives creates great exposure for the reader in a way that allows for easy reading.
Although I had never heard or read into the Mumbai slums, I was not that surprised by the level of corruption from the police, NGOs, and other citizens. Rachel does mention how one must “embrace” this system in order to develop one’s capabilities. In addition, those “know the right people” or in Asha’s case – sleep with the right people – are able to move up the ladder to acquire some opportunities. Asha paves her way through corruption and power, while her daughter chooses the hard-working road.
Like Victoria mentioned, the capabilities of children are squandered because they have to work to produce an extra income for the family. This affects their well-being in the sense that they undergo child labor and poor growth. Also, if they lack a proper education, then they most likely lack the sense of agency. They are not able to speak out for themselves or undergo proper growth and sustain their health. This simply leads them down a treacherous path as adults.
While in Ecuador, I have yet to explicitly see any corruption, but from what Quitenos tell me – it definitely exists. As for the capabilities that are supported or neglected, it is difficult to notice many of them. Something I have noticed is that education is a capability that is definitely supported with free tuition at public schools and universities. Another capability that is supported is access to healthcare, because there are various public hospitals for everyone. On the flipside, some of the capabilities that are neglected are access to sexual health education, everyday supplies, and solid health prevention services.
Aside from the above-mentioned capabilities, I believe that there are some that may be hidden or inexplicitly supported or neglected that I am not aware of, even though I have been here for a month.