Rubina sits with her back to the graffitied wall of the tiny apartment that she moved into with her family six months ago. There is one living room, about 15ft by 10ft, which doubles as a bedroom for the 14-year-old, her mother, father and two sisters. Her two brothers sleep on the floor of the small kitchen. There is a toilet cubicle and a shower room, and that is it.
“When we came back from the Oscars we were so happy. We had all these dreams about what we were going to do and how our lives were going to change,” she says.
“People promised us many things and we believed them. But my dreams have not come true.”
She and Azhar sat in front of their televisions as Boyle’s dazzling London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony was beamed around the world this summer, marvelling at the spectacle, gasping at the fireworks, delighted at the success of the man they still affectionately refer to as Danny Uncle.
But it was hard for them not to reflect on how far their lives had diverged. While Boyle has gone from strength to strength, his young proteges have lurched from crisis to crisis, feeling let down by people they believed would help them make their dreams come true.
Both had their slum shacks demolished by municipal authorities determined to crack down on illegal settlements.
Last year, Rubina lost all her Slumdog mementoes, including the dress she wore to the Oscars, in a devastating fire that ripped through the city’s Garib Nagar slum.
She thought her luck had finally changed this year when the Jai Ho trust – set up by Boyle to look after the two children – belatedly bought her a permanent home.
Instead, the trust put her in an unfinished apartment in a cramped apartment block in a rundown part of the suburb.