Arpana Rawat is a mother of two, living in Powai for last 8 years, she is a extremely busy working professional, but Powai has helped her maintain her work life balance. She has been contributing on our facebook community very earnestly, since our inception in 2008. She is particularly keen on good governance initiatives and has been involved in a NGO called RADHEE that’s into disaster preparedness and disaster management. Read the interview below.
1. How long have you been living in Powai? And why did you decide to make Powai as your home?I have been living in Powai/Mumbai since 2002 and moved right after I got married. There's an interesting tale to why Powai is my home. On my first Househunting trip to Mumbai I remember going with my to be husband somewhere in the Lokhandwala area. We saw an apartment in which the bedroom window looked inside someone else's bedroom...yikes! I was very clear about not making Mumbai my home. Well, as a last ditch effort he got to me to Hiranandani Gardens and the deal was that we had to live in Hiranandani if were to live in Mumbai. My husband made good on that. Initially we had a rented place but now we have our own house here. Powai is where home is now.
"2. Can you share some of your experiences of living in Powai, right from the day you selected the property, till today? How has Powai changed in your opinion?"
The best thing I liked and still like about Hiranandani Powai is that I can walk everywhere and don't need to step out of the community for my immediate needs. Coming from a small town that's helped me live more easily in a big city. Eight years ago when we moved in, there was very less traffic, lesser buildings and more cleanliness than today. With more buildings come more people and more cars and unfortunately more mess. I think the last can be avoided if we chose to have better civic sense. As we grew from two to a family of four, things like the school and the hospital became important factors. I believe that these necessities need to be available within a few minutes of where you live and this is the only place in Mumbai (perhaps India) where this is a reality. The one other thing that's great about Powai is that it’s next to Eastern Express - by far the fastest road in Mumbai!! Weekend getaways are easier and so is going to the town side. I can go on but we can save it for another day!
"3. What kind of extra amenities would you like, which are at present lacking in Powai?"
"In my opinion too much traffic has become a bane. We need to find a solution for it. Having over-bridges for walkers and having biking lanes for cyclists may be a good idea. Even though school is a few minutes away on foot, I cannot imagine that I can send my kids walking on their own. Crossing the road is a nightmare. I have also seen many people driving on the wrong side of the road or on the paved walks during rush hours. Mobikes are the biggest offenders. I have stopped and shouted at a few. Well, that's not a solution. We need people to be fined for such bad practices. An overall traffic solution is mandatory to get some sanity back. I think for the Hiranandani Community it would be great to have shared bus/minivan rides around the complex. The subscription can be paid for by societies and the residents can move around with passes. This will reduce the need to ply cars and autos to short distances.
The other thing that is my pet peeve (pun intended) is dog lovers letting dog poop all over the place and bringing dogs to parks even if it says dogs are not allowed. I love dogs and have had several pets as a child. I personally don't think high city rise apartments are a good place to keep these spirited creatures! Anyhow even if pets are to be kept there has to be a solution for their daily needs. A couple of dog parks for their doggy needs are a must. I am sure people who can afford pets can pay for services of these parks that can be cleaned frequently of the doggy mess. Fines on dogs pooping anywhere else needs to be in place and dog owners should clean up after their dog has pooped in the wrong place (like in many other countries).
A multilevel parking solution for the tourists and people visiting the area on weekends will be very welcome as well. There are some roads with no go good walkways. These should be put in place so walkers can do so more safely."
"4. What do you think is the biggest advantage of living in Powai ? And what to do you think is the single most disadvantage of living here in Powai?"
"The biggest advantage for me is every necessity is available at easy reach. Critical things like school, hospital, banks, grocery are conveniently located. We have some green and open area where residents – young and old can get some air. The lake is awesome and so are the hills of the national park. The view from our home is one of the reasons why we live here!
Of late we have many good restaurants. The big gap we had on malls is now bridged with R City Mall and Home Town both about 10 minutes away. Access to Eastern Express rocks.
For me the only down side is access to artistic pursuits that are more on the town side like art galleries and auditorium for plays. A good sporting ground is missing. A mini-post office/branch may be a good idea too in the main market area."
"Now that’s a difficult question! To start with, I am a working woman trying to ensure I have a good work life balance. It has worked reasonably well for me so far, thanks to being employed with one of the best companies that exists in the world! With two spirited young boys my life is quite action oriented! My goal is be more involved in some form of public service a few years from now as I get more free time with older kids. At present I contribute in a very limited way to an NGO called RADHEE that’s into disaster preparedness and disaster management. It’s a start up NGO that I believe it is doing a lot of great work and something that India really needs.
I am also at the point in life where one starts re-evaluating life and what one wants from it!"
"6. What do you think about this initiative of www.powai.info ? Do you think you can contribute to this website and help get Powai connected?"
Powai.info is an excellent initiative to bring the community together. It has become better with time. I access it constantly. We can grow participation further and form sub-groups in certain areas. We can have chat forums/blogs where specific issues can be discussed. This output could then be used to address a local issue. At present, I can contribute in a limited manner from time to time.
"7. What would you like to see in www.powai.info - in terms of Content (what kind of articles, photographs, news stories, important info) and in terms of Design (Looks, colours, interactivity-ease of use)"
powai.info contains localized information. It can only get better. In my view the content should aim for sharing availability of local services, feedback on them and community initiatives. I do believe we can channelize the local resources through creating forums where users can interact and achieve the changes we want to feed to the community here.