These two words are used very often to describe the “indescribable” things that make India the unique place it is to live. It is the catch phrase to explain the “unexplainable” things you see, what people do, and how things are done. I have heard it used in business, government, at conferences, in my office and in my home…….and I have used it several times myself on various occasions…….the words roll easily, perhaps too easily, off the tongues of everyone in the country. More often than not it is used situations and circumstances where there is a “fine line”…….good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, ethical vs. unethical, professional vs. unprofessional……….you get the point!
On October 28, 2012, after traveling a short distance from my home, I came to stop at the intersection and surveyed the traffic situation in both directions……since I was turning left I naturally glanced to my right first to check the oncoming traffic and when I glanced to the left I noticed a “mahout” and his elephant making their way down the opposite side of the road.
Elephants are a normal sight throughout India, and it was not uncommon for me to see them, but as it crossed in front of me, I noticed something that I had never seen before, and I seriously could not believe my eyes…..
As usual, I had my camera and I shot a quick photograph while I was driving, but I wasn’t convinced that the shot was clear enough, so I quickly deviated off my original plan and drove past the elephant and parked my car.
With camera in hand I waited patiently on the side of the road for the lumbering elephant and the mahout to make their way towards me……..
When they reached I confirmed that this elephant was being used as a walking advertisement for a company that I had never heard of…….a “global” company at that…… I had never seen such a thing……clever, perhaps……but it raised many questions in my mind…..
I have to admit, I did not think about “abuse” at that point…….my pondering thoughts were more logistical in nature……
“Who thought of this?”……….”Was it for a special event/promotion?”………..”How much did the mahout get paid for allowing his elephant to be painted?”………..”What kind of company is this…..what do they do or sell?”………….”How much exposure will they get from a promotion like this?”……..”Is this the right image for their product or services?”
While I snapped, the mahout, who obviously did not speak English, smiled and with sign language asked me if I wanted to ride……..I waved him off and shook my head and snapped a few more shots and returned to my car…….and recall saying out loud to myself…….”Only in India!”
As I was buckling the seat belt I watched the elephant reaching up into nearby tree for something to eat and then made my way back on the road.
It wasn’t until this afternoon that these photographs along with many others got downloaded from my camera. While organizing and editing them, I recalled this incident and decided to share my encounter with you and to perhaps get your views on “animal advertising”.
I also did some research on Opus India and RK Global…….turns out that OPUS India is a subsidiary of Opus Media Group UK who with an alliance with RK Global is expanding their presence in India.
RK Global is an Indian financial brokerage firm with services ranging from Equities, Derivatives, Commodities, Currency, Depository, IPO Distribution, Mutual Fund Distribution and Consultancy.
A “Google” search brought me to the headlines boasting an event that was attended by Anil Kapoor, a famous Bollywood actor during the launch of the F1 Opus, a luxury publication documenting the sport of Formula 1 Racing.
It seems that the event took place on October 26, 2012 at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi………and two days later the lumbering giant with a logo painted on his side found his way into my south Delhi neighborhood……for a breakfast of fresh leaves!
When you click on the link above, the writer at the Times of India described Opus Media UK in the following way…..
“The Opus Media Group, from the UK, is known for producing luxury publications that present never-before-seen matter using beautiful photographs and text.”
Well I would say that Opus Media lived up to her words by creating a “never-before-seen-matter” situation for me to discover!
Right or wrong? Exploitative or not? Animal abuse or creative advertising?
“IT’s INDIA”……….I guess!
Please post your comments…….I would love to get your thoughts on this subject.