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Monday, February 06, 2006

A rural example...

My colleague, Sujata, went on a holiday, albeit an impromptu one, to Rajasthan for the New Years. She brought back several pictures from a most "awesome" trip, but I found that a couple of them in particular piqued my interest. Now, for those of you who've seen the new Visa advertisement with Richard Gere, you'll know that at first glance it seems a bit farfetched.

Why is that? Because the ad shows a little girl who wants to buy a couple of white doves that she can set free, as a good omen, to imbue her brother's trip with all the good luck possible. However, she only has enough for one bird, and as she passes Richard Gere, who she had bumped into earlier, her 'long' face seems to indicate to him that she didn't quite get what she wanted. So, he decides to help out by using his Visa card to pay for many more birds, which his guide and the shop keeper he brought them from help to release, providing the girl with a pleasant surprise. What is wrong with this picture? The fact that he paid for the birds with his credit card. Man, I've been to places in Bangalore city that don't accept credit cards! But I guess it was my turn to "eat my hat", eh?

Here's a sketch of the ad, which is actually the mousepad that Sujata gave me. It's a cute concept but if I hadn't seen the pictures that she took I would have been one of the many people complaining about how advertising makes less and less sense these days. Hasn't that always been the case though?'s the sketch.
The ad that I thought was mad

And now for 'real deal' as I like to call it. The following picture is of a weaver, who by the looks of it seems to be like any other weaver you would find in any other village...and I guess that's by far the most inane statement I could have made. But still, it's worth a look, because what comes next will saaahck you. Carpet Weaver, Bishnoi Village, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

This next one is the one that made me realize that making hasty judgments about things I could have just as easily thought out, or imagined, will eventually make me seem the fool. What am I talking about? Well, what's that you've got there Mr. Weaver? Is that a Point-Of-Sale machine? Carpet Weaver with POS machine, Bishnoi Village, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Wow! And this is one of the many ways in which progress seems to be taking place in this land that we call home. It's astounding, really! Well, I say that because I guess I underestimated what things are possible in this world. And I know the most immediate response would be a bit of a harrumph and a, "You can't eradicate poverty and control your population, and now you're giving villagers expensive pieces of equipment?" But let's take the victories as they come, small though they may be.

This last picture, of a seemingly random vendor of ethnic musical memorabilia, has a rather interesting twist to it too. At first glance he appears to be a regular guy with a regular instrument trying to make his way through this crazy world. But if you look closely, and although direct sunlight isn't good for them, he's also selling a tape and a CD. Well, we can only see one of each, but I'm sure he's got more 'stashed' away somewhere. Rajasthani Musician, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

How's that for random acts of technology, eh? And it's surprising in its own way, while being somehow strangely comforting, to know that no matter what there is still this undying human element that makes us move up and go forward no matter whatever else happens. Brilliant stuff!

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