Proof that friendship — and a well-designed ad — trumps geopolitics

Google designed this ad for the massive Indian market, but its theme of friendship transcends language, cultural and political barriers.

The arbitrary 1947 partition of the British Indian Empire into Pakistan and India meant that friends and families found themselves in different countries literally overnight. Many were displaced, or forced to flee ethnic and religious violence, and lifelong relationships were torn asunder during one of the largest population movements in recorded history. But friends and family do not forget each other.

The ad may be a little obvious in how it tugs the heartstrings, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s utterly believable. If I were searching for someone who was long lost to my family, Google is where I would start.

(If this embed doesn’t allow you to click on the captions box at lower right — the little icon that looks like an envelope — go to the YouTube page to watch it there.)

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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5 Responses to Proof that friendship — and a well-designed ad — trumps geopolitics

  1. Alma says:

    Wow, this made me cry big time! I was on my phone, so there were no captions available, but after two seconds or so, I just watched it anyway. Captions not necessary to understand the story, plus I could read the search strings. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. xenatuba says:

    That is a heck of a good ad. Small history lesson, great family lesson…oh, yeah, and a plug for iPhones as well. But very well done, and there must have been some excess moisture around my eyeballs or something.

  3. Lisa Shaw says:

    “If I were searching for someone who was long lost to my family, Google is where I would start.”

    That’s how I found you again. πŸ™‚

  4. JR says:

    I showed this to the students in my Modern South Asian Cities course a few weeks ago. It didn’t occur to me to turn on the captions, so I translated it on the fly. But it’s funny, a couple of the things that we talked about are missing from the English transcription. The English drops a reference to the granddaughter as a Mumbaiker, which puts a slightly different spin on the Pakistan-Indian relationship, given the use of cell phones in the ad (cell phones are still offered as symbols of the Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on Mumbai in 2008). When the grandfather describes the Lahore gate by the big park, his words are translated into English as “Stone Age”. But he actually dates the gate to the lifetime of (Islamic Saint) Baba Adam, a sign of his Lahori origins.

    We had a decent discussion in terms of the material we were covering in class, but my students concluded that while heartwarming, the ad was really just fantasy. And maybe that’s why people liked it so much. Obtaining a visa to travel from Pakistan to India in the “real world” takes a year–or until the end of time–so the friendship would never be put to an after-the-reunion test.

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