Thursday, June 10, 2010

What is India to me?

What is India to me?
Was the question from the research team from a global major in sports goods, while they are evaluating India. “Please answer in 2-3 words or sentences, as spontaneously as you can…”. I had nothing to say that moment. How can you ask a fish, what is water? Being in the profession of Design Research, constantly articulating India, the diverse culture, historical influences, modern influences, meaning and impact of this diversity on product innovation, brand positioning and messaging, understanding the rich-poor, urban-rural, caste-cosmo divide for so many years…actually caught me unawares and I had too much to say which cannot be three words or three sentences….

They gave me an example what others have said…”Home”….such an ‘un-insightful’ remark…But this does become insightful if you compare with some comments from a country like Columbia; because of the internal strife, many people actually rather not be born in that country (some of my friends from Columbia, living in Europe, don’t want to ever go back..).

Yes, India is home. Is that all encompassing experience for me? Or there are more dimensions?

I am reminded of one of the quotes- ”India surprises you with its size, density and diversity - but if you enjoy delving into new cultures and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth.” That probably would be second sentence that would come from me, after ‘home’.

‘Rising’ is the rather clich├ęd but I would like to use this word, as a wordsmith. Rising from the ashes..rising from the slumber of several centuries….rising from the colonial past…rising on the front of liberal economy…rising on the self-confidence of average citizen…For me RISING is a multi-dimensional verb and not the noun of adjective connected to India. It shows work-in-progress towards better future. And this is what I am going through and going to see in near future.

Three done….three million more to go….