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Same, Same but Different


Kaan-saaf walls (professional ear cleaners) often don red head-gear and subtly sport a fresh cue-tip alongside other expert apparatus. This alerts folks to their services without the need for brash announcements of their humble and sensitive trade. More images.

Gotta love those who’s work revolves around enhancing our ability to listen.

Related posts:
Walla: Pavement Purveyors
Disrupting Urination Norms

Kaan-saaf walls (professional ear cleaners) often don red head-gear and subtly sport a fresh cue-tip alongside other expert apparatus. This alerts folks to their services without the need for brash announcements of their humble and sensitive trade.

Mobile Enterprise + Mobile Phone

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One can find ample instances of mobile phones enhancing the lives of those on low and unpredictable incomes at the base of the pyramid across the world. Today I came across a small yet active example of the advantage of mobile connectivity in the context of my current research endeavors at Dharavi in Mumbai.

Jan Mohammed runs a knife-selling and knife-sharpening enterprise, which he operates from his bicycle, to service the Dharavi-Mahim-Sion area. He conducts business by going door to door in these neighbourhoods and often parks up in one of the busy marketplaces during evenings. Since buying a second-hand mobile phone he has been able to attract the business of local restaurants and caterers who provide bulk sharpening work and have become regular clients via the accessibility his phone assures.

The aspect he likes best about his phone is the prepaid payment method. Having a wife and five children back at his village in Uttar Pradesh means that he makes frequent calls home – but when he is low on money and hasn’t topped up his phonecard he can still receive calls ensuring business. In fact he had just last week paid to replace his knife-sharpening grinder so had no money left for phone credit, yet was still able to receive a lucrative call from a wedding caterer to sharpen 75 knives.
 
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Knife-wallas elsewhere in Dharavi who conduct business without mobile phones.

Related articles:
Pavement Purveyors (Flickr)
Tuned-In

One can find ample instances of mobile phones enhancing the lives of those on low and unpredictable incomes at the base of the pyramid across the world. Today I came across a small yet active example of the advantage of mobile connectivity in the context of my current research endeavors at Dharavi in Mumbai. Jan [...]

Disrupting Urination Norms

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Last week in Mumbai someone kindly explained to me the custom of putting wall tiles of gods from different religions along street facades. They’re positioned at pissing height – and act as a perfect deterrent in a reverent nation.
 
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UN_shiva
UN_lakshmi
UN_krishna
UN_jesus
UN_mary
UN_buddha
UN_corner
 
Related Posts:
Illuminating Urban Imperfections
Same, Same But Different

Last week in Mumbai someone kindly explained to me the custom of putting wall tiles of gods from different religions along street facades. They're positioned at pissing height – and act as a perfect deterrent in a reverent nation.     Related Posts: Illuminating Urban Imperfections Same, Same But Different

Tuned In

dharavi_duo
I was scoping out Dharavi yesterday for upcoming ethnographic research and came across this pair sharing headphones to catch the India/Sri Lanka cricket match via a mobile phone. The aspiration value of this part-shared, part-private use of a cellphone feature was evident – as onlookers could sense the excitement they were missing, through following the men’s expressions as the game progressed.

Check out images over upcoming weeks on my Dharavi Flickr set.
[Research updates were previously posted on the the now defunct Prepaid Economy blog]

I was scoping out Dharavi yesterday for upcoming ethnographic research and came across this pair sharing headphones to catch the India/Sri Lanka cricket match via a mobile phone. The aspiration value of this part-shared, part-private use of a cellphone feature was evident – as onlookers could sense the excitement they were missing, through following the [...]