Friday, February 22, 2008

Small Innovations

On a hot summer's day, I always miss the fresh sugar cane juice that was so easily available in India. The vendors had hand cranked equipment and served the juice in a grimy looking glass that had seen better days. If they had disposable cups your concerns about hygiene were alleviated some but you stayed away from the crushed ice because the water was of unknown provenance.

You drank your tepid sugar cane juice from a flimsy plastic cup on a sweltering summer day thinking what a difference that ice could have made to your experience. So while a glass of fresh sugar cane juice is the most refreshing drink on a hot day, you did not enjoy it as much as you could have.

It warms my heart to read about Cane-o-la. This sugar cane juice maker may not qualify to be low-tech innovation but bringing just a bit of equipment and organization to bear upon something fairly mundane is not exactly hi-tech either. Whatever its place, this is just the kind of innovation that bridges the traditional and modern ways of life in India.

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