Around two years ago, on a hot, muggy day in Luxor, Egypt, the then minister of tourism Renuka Chowdhury gathered a few journalists in a huddle on the banks of the majestic Nile to narrate to them her vision of what she wants to do for tourism for India. Journalists, naturally, raised their eyebrows and rolled their eyes.
When the spiel ended around seven minutes later, though, the journalists were sold. Chowdhury was not only a woman on mission, but her energy seemed to belie her size. “We have the most beautiful monuments, and we have the best technologists,” she said. “Isn’t that a great combination? The Web seems to be the most logical way to promote India.”
On Independence Day this year, the ministry of tourism launched its dedicated channel on YouTube ( www.youtube.com/India ), its second foray on the Internet after the fairly impressive incredibleindia.org.
It has its usual share of tourism videos — commercials all of them — and compared with, say, videos run by Singapore Tourism or Malaysian Tourism, they do look a bit drab, especially since the best of the lot — the Incredible India Intro — is nowhere on the first scroll on the channel’s home page.
Put that one on top, and you’d see a few more than the mere 86 subscriptions and the 13,000 views it has so far. It may not be on YouTube’s hot list, but what the heck! Chowdhury’s dream, it would seem, is on it way.
Chicago designer George Aye’s dream, too, came true this week. In what is now surely the world’s most creative marriage proposal, Aye’s video has garnered a quarter of a million views already, and is well on its way to becoming one of the year’s most talked about videos. Women love Aye; the men hate him. How in the world will they match up to Aye’s proposal to Sara Cantor?
Aye made an artist up ‘Serge Gandaora’ (an anagram of George and Sara) and called his installation work My Early Muir Owl (an anagram for ‘Will you marry me?’). During an elaborate party to celebrate the artist, Sara read the installation. Just for good measure, Aye also went down on his knees and offered her a ring. Sara accepted, they hugged and their story is now part of Internet lore.
Watch how he did it on http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=cCiThCeY2Uc.