Phone conversation with Logan Ward — author of a book called “See You In A Hundred Years”. In 2000, he and his wife and young son spent a year living as if in 1900. No electricity, no running water, growing their own food etc. He was at Aravind recently for a visit and was immensely struck by what he saw and felt and heard. Since returning to the States he has been churning around ideas for a book on what this place offers up to the rest of the world. His voice is sincere, his service intent genuine when he says, “I wonder what I can contribute.” We talk about where our own book is. He doesn’t want to encroach on the story we’re telling, but wonders whether there might be the potential for another book here. One with a more narrow focus than ours. We talk about following the replication efforts in the US of the Aravind model, a story that’s only just beginning to emerge. I encourage him to see what’s there. There is a timeliness to this angle, given the current consciousness around healthcare systems and the many ways in which they fail the people they are meant to serve. I tell him, wholeheartedly that Dr V’s work and vision is meant to be shared in as many ways as possible. As I am talking to him, I feel the truth of this very strongly. A free-ing feeling.
Later that week we meet with a young, likable engineer from Holland. By a series of ‘coincidences’ he’s found himself in the middle of a project, working with Aravind/Aurolab to design a low cost retinal camera that will be used in the field to diagnose potentially blinding eye conditions. The asking price in the market for that kind of camera is upward of $40,000. His working prototype costs $2000. As he talks about his initial impressions of the Aravind model, and wonders aloud what makes it possible he says, ” You know I’m doing this work now with no idea of whether it is going to fail or be successful. But it doesn’t matter. I am doing it for the joy of doing it. And that’s not really a part of the Aravind business model — but it is.”
It’s not. But it is.