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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Thought for the Day

"It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in so doing you bring everything to the realm of possibility."

                                                                                                                             - Albert Einstein

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Corporate Blogging - Blog as Your Front Porch (2)

Ok - this is getting to be fun.  Ton picks up Brandon Wirtz's metaphor of the Front Porch as an effective elevator pitch for corporate blogging and wonders ....

"Now, here in the Netherlands front porches would take way too much space, so we do without them. But the cultural icon is recognizable to me, watching American tv shows. I'm wondering what metaphor we should have to change this eloquent pitch into, for different cultural realms. Sidewalks for busy cities? Spending the first few hours of the evening out by the fountain on the market square? The corner café? These are all western examples, but how about India for instance?"

Thinking of a suitable Indian metaphor here.  And sharing some of my thought processes.  

We have the traditional 'aangan' - its a courtyard - usually an inner courtyard - a more 'feminine' domain - with women offering prayer to 'tulsi' (basil) there - cleaning vegetables, doing shared chores, tending children who are playing, catching up on gossip etc.  Men don't really hang out there - unless they're old and retired.

Men prefer the 'chauraha' or the village square - sitting together under a large banyan tree, smoking beedis and hookahs, discussing current affairs, events, politics and  philosophy.

Hmmm ... perhaps not quite the right metaphor ! 

Then there's the verandah - 'barandah' in Hindi, 'otla' in Gujarati.  The outer space of the home where you can watch the world go by.  This could be an outer room of the house, or an open space running around the house, or an outer courtyard.

From a large city, urban point of view - i have been thinking - there perhaps is no concept of a front porch anymore.  We invite people into our living rooms freely, our main doors open into our living rooms, in many places you will find main doors are kept open during the day and neighbours come in and out freely.  Maybe, in some ways, our living rooms are our front porches. 

The problem is with thinking of a metaphor that is all encompassing and takes care of the diversity across India. Clubs and lounges for the senior executives, coffee shops for kids, 'kitty' party venues for women ?  I don't really know.  These seem more like hang-outs than 'front porches'.

Can anyone help me come up with a good metaphor for India ?  And for other cultures around the world ?

Would love to hear your thoughts !

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