What Poverty Teaches Us About Creativity

Photo by Sam Mohan from his "Autochthons of 16.233305/74.599995" project: http://adobe.ly/1clkgQJ.

Photo by Sam Mohan from his “Autochthons of 16.233305/74.599995″ project: http://adobe.ly/1clkgQJ.

It was a beautiful day as I slowly meandered through the alleys in one of Bangalore’s slums.  A mechanic was putting together an old motorcycle engine while the owner intently stood watch over him.  An old man was wearing a look of extreme boredom as he sat next to a mat with some refurbished toys he hoped to sell.  A small group of children were chasing each other around in bare feet as women in saris busily went this way and that carrying pales to fill with water, bags overflowing with grain and baskets containing fruit to sell.

In a strange way that moment felt almost idyllic.  I knew that virtually everyone I saw lived in abject poverty, yet they filled me with hope.  They did not seem beaten down by their circumstance, but rather appeared to have carved out a sustainable life despite it.  I felt like I was witnessing a parallel existence – one I was aware of as a young boy living in India thirty years ago and had rediscovered after reading “Creating a World Without Poverty” by Muhammad Yunus.  I already knew the next few hours would evolve my understanding of social responsibility, but I had no idea how a chance encounter with a mother and her son – who had nothing but a TV and a VCR – would change my understanding of creativity.

Read the full post on Medium here.