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Is happiness relative, especially in cities where wealth disparities are apparent? I interviewed members from slums to the general public for stories. I asked them to rate their happiness from 1-10, reflecting the number of flowers in each portrait.

Is happiness relative, especially in cities where wealth disparities are apparent? I interviewed members from slums to the general public for stories. I asked them to rate their happiness from 1-10, reflecting the number of flowers in each portrait.

Photo of Rebecca Hui
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Rebecca commented on The Indian City Through the Perspective of a Cow

You see it quite right: many locals I talked to did bring up the "spiritual dearth" associated with the mechanization of a city. The opinions of people from each city were interesting and widely mixed. Some people from the new city disliked the old city and expressed that it needed to be "developed". On the contrary, others associated a sense of nostalgia with the culture and community that the old city possessed.

I came to understand these opinions through my cow journeys too. In many instances, I could feel the Old City's generally more communal vibe on my journeys. Sometimes when my cow stalled outside people's houses for a long time, residents would come out and endearingly offer me chai tea and crackers. And when I expressed to my local friends how generous the locals were in the old city, they surprised me by saying that I would find even more communal behavior in the villages. One girl from Junagadh shared with me how the cows in her village were comfortable enough with humans they would "horn" on her door each night for dinner. And the cows' reciprocal behavior toward humans in each city was also very telling of city DNA. I was able to pet the cows in the old city without their hesitation. But on the contrary, I couldn't in the new city as the more hostile behavior from the traffic, house watchdogs, and shop keepers produced hostile behavior in the cows. I was stunned when Circles, the new City Cow horned a woman who was in her way at a bus stop.

Great point David. If I could go back, I would try and interview everyone who interacted with the cows on my journeys. Parallels between community values and the cities' identities were one of the biggest lessons I took from the cows.


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Rebecca commented on The Indian City Through the Perspective of a Cow

I met a friend in Mumbai who took this photo of a cow carcass in Chandigarh http://www.flickr.com/photos/rebeccahui/6459083851/. He told me that this was not the only carcass found with heaps of plastic in their decayed stomachs. Quite a sad fate.

I have heard that cow dung is often collected, dried, and reused for other functional purposes in the villages (ie. cooking/fire fuel and building material) To my knowledge, there wasn't a dung collection system for reuse in the areas of my cow odysseys. Your insight could suggest a very sustainable intervention for the whopping amounts of cow pie on the streets!

Thank you Szilvia for your fascinating feedback. Glad to hear you had quite an experience in India.

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Rebecca commented on The Indian City Through the Perspective of a Cow

Thought-provoking. When talking to locals in India about their changing society, there seemed to be optimism toward the flourishing economy yet bitterness at the cost of receding cultural values and traditions

And thank you! :) I really enjoy your insightful feedback