Saturday, October 08, 2011

Variety versus Standard

I was in the US some weeks back on a jetlagged trip and I visited two artists fairs in the Boston area. One of those fairs had a couple of farms, food products being sold and stuff like that.

What i liked about the fair was that it gave me an insight into a different sort of US.

The US I am used to is the "uniform across cities" US - malls which look the same, streets that are indistinguishable from each other. Even in restaurants which look the same across cities are servers who incredibly alike and serve uninspiring food which tastes the same.

These fairs showed me the hidden side of US - I mean, I saw stuff I had never seen in my life - husk cherries for example, purple potatoes, varieties of apple and tomatoes, desert honey and other types of local honey, different types of vegetables. The amount of people doing their own thing was inspiring. There was person who was showcasing "stone clocks" - yes clocks made of stone. There was another person who was pursuing his hobby of glass blowing - and the range of creativity I saw was inspiring. There were ranges of gourmet sauces - and none of them were the kind of "manufactured" food that we are used to.

And as I see it around me we see variety reducing all around in India - it gives me a thought. We need to figure out a way to keep those varieties preserved - in those sari weavers, in those temples, those instruments, those dances, artisans, paintings and other art and craft forms before it gets lost for ever.

And even the exhibitions I have seen in India - the Chitrakala Parishat variety - all cater to a rather narrow dimension. And I know there is scope to do more here...

3 comments:

Swapz said...

Variety will stick around only if there is financial incentive for it. No one wants to be the poor chap in the corner of the world who'll continue the tradition for the tradition's sake.

ecophilo said...

oh absolutely...and I believe that there is a business model in there...

Rangachari Anand said...

If you ever get a chance, visit a Maker Fair for a yet another view of American culture. There are still many craftsmen and tinkerers around.