Kalyanapuram is a slum located on the banks of the Buckingham Canal in the northern part of Chennai. Stagnating water and mountains of garbage surround it. With a population of 1,000 families, each living in 150 sq. ft houses in narrow streets, it does not have an inch of free space.
At the entrance of the slum is a toilet complex. Thenappan G., a 57-year-old coolie worker, pays ₹ 2 for using the toilet, which was refurbished in June. “You don’t know what you were missing until you have it,” he says, smiling.