• Share

A Small World Perspective from Coca-Cola India: 'Deep Down, We Know That to Co-exist is to Exist'

By:  Ajay Naqvi Jun 20, 2013
Tags & Topics:
Small World Machines in India

Coca-Cola's Ayaaz Khan (left), Jackie Jantos Tulloch and Ajay Naqvi with a Small World Machine in New Delhi.

In March, Coca-Cola installed two first-of-their-kind vending machines in shopping malls – one in Lahore, Pakistan, and a second in New Delhi, India – and invited consumers to put their differences aside and share a simple moment over a Coke. The “Small World Machines” provided a live communications portal linking strangers in two nations divided by more than just borders, with the hope of provoking happiness and promoting cultural understanding.

Yesterday, we heard from Saad Pall and Moiz Syed from Coca-Cola Pakistan. Today, Ajay Naqvi from the Coca-Cola India team that supported the project on the New Delhi side shares his story:

A Coca-Cola fan named Nikhil Bains quoted this Punjabi poem (translated in English Below) in a comment he posted on Facebook about the #smallworldmachines film:

Let me take you back 200 years

When the Land of Punjab: green, jeweled, and life was beautiful

We had three meals, and maybe smaller houses

When people would string the pearls of happiness together in necklaces

And then we lost our senses and started fighting over religion

And divided our home into two pieces

Both Hindus and Muslims say their beliefs are different

BUT have we all forgotten that we all are just HUMAN

-BOHEMIA.

Is it not beautiful when your belief is translated by others into as powerful a statement? Who would have imagined such a soul-stirring mélange of human emotions that borders on regret and pain, only to express ultimate happiness? Should we wonder why?

Perhaps not. Togetherness is fundamental to a society. It's permanent, yet transient-ness occurs between families, friends…and countries. And we all have born the gauntlet of bringing people together in small, but bold ways. We have decided not to ignore and live on the fringes, and we have done that all our lives. Because deep down, we know that to co-exist is to exist. That being happy inclusively is the only path to permanent happiness.

It was this boldness among the people of India and Pakistan that inspired us to be bold for the world. We decided to make the sacrilegious accessible. We honored what's deep inside us and brought it to the world. Without fear and with innocence, we wanted to establish a connection.

Coca-Cola believes that the world can be a happier place. That tomorrow can be happier. For this belief to become a tangible change, the brand had to go establish a momentous, honest, powerful action. Hence, the #smallworldmachines were born.

Coca-Cola India and Small World Machines

Communicating with their colleagues across the border in Lahore, Pakistan.

But history does not take easy to it being changed. Not all elements favored us. Except the never-say-never spirit of the crack team involved and the well wishes of everybody who wanted us to succeed for the greater good.

In the final moments, when hands touched through the machine interface, motifs were drawn together and spontaneous dances of happiness were complemented with the sweet sip of the genuine epitome of happiness on both sides of the border – between Gurgaon and Lahore – I could just stand there and think: we were always meant to be!

I have my story for eternity, for my son and my grandchildren. Tomorrow, they will create their own stories, and the world will really become even smaller.