When And Where Was This Picture Taken?

The Context

It is fascinating how what Sherlock Holmes calls Deduction–and what should rightly be called Abduction (or connecting the dots)–can be used to get closer to the truth! In fact, this (connecting the dots) is one skill that Growtist aims to help its readers develop.

But, why? How will this skill make you excellent?

Well, because objective cognition serves as the foundation of excellence. Because, if you cannot see things straight, you will never master reality. And, connecting-the-dots is that crucial cognitive skill that will help you make your cognition not only objective but also insightful. Examples: Jack Welch, George Soros, Warren Buffett! 

In this context, we have created a short exercise for you below. The answer (with full explanation) will be shared day after tomorrow!

Key question

The picture above shows the Indian ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with top film industry people of India. 

Can you first identify the important dots/clues in the picture below, and then connect them to tell where and when (just tell us a time range in 2-3 year window) was this picture taken?

Note: Feel free to google for any information! And I am sorry that this exercise will not be doable for non-Indian audiences. But I will post more such stuff (with broader appeal) soon!

The Where answer

The dots:

  1. Most of the very famous film personalities are there
  2. People in the photo are wearing different types of dresses. There is no dress code.
  3. There is a coconut tree at the back
  4. Indira Gandhi the ex-PM of India is also there in the photo, sitting in the center

Connecting the dots:

So many film personalities (1) will gather in an informal setting (2) most likely in Mumbai only.

The coconut tree (3) implies that the location is near a beach. 

It is also highly likely that these filmy personalities were visiting Indira Gandhi and not the other way round.

The presence of so many famous personalities (1) indicates the most likely Indira in PM at the time of the photo.

The informal setting (2) also indicates that this is a place where Indira would not have come to attend a formal event. So, most likely she has been staying at this place.

So, we are looking for a place near a beach in Mumbai, where an Indian PM would be stay for some time whenever he/she would visit Mumbai. 

So, we can now turn to Google. We search for the term: “official government residence mumbai

Below are the search results:

Which of the search results above strikes us immediately?

Raj Bhavan.

So, hoping to find a similar image of the building as our picture, we now search for some images for Raj Bhavan:

Picture no. 6 captures our attention. Because it provides a close-up of the building that could be similar to our picture. We also notice that picture 15 at the bottom right hand side provides a better view. So, decide to look at it closely. 

Well, if you zoom out in the area where the spiral stairs, you will notice the similarities in the 2 pictures!

Obviously there are differences. But those can be attributed to the passage of time (perhaps 30-40 years!) and the very likely renovation. The colored picture seems to be taken in 2014 and the black and white picture would be from any year in the 1966-1984 period (Indira’s time as PM).

So, the picture was taken at Raj bhavan, Mumbai!

The When answer

The dots:

  1. Amitabh is missing from the photo
  2. Vinod Khanna is in an sanyasi-type dress

Connecting the dots:

It is quite likely that Amitabh (1) is missing (despite his closeness to Gandhi family) because he was not yet famous the time when this photo was taken. This means that the photo cannot be later than 1975, because by 1975 Amitabh had already given hits like Deewar and hence was force in the reckoning.

Vinod Khanna seems in his sanyasi-dress but is still with his film friends (2). So, he has by now been a bit influenced by Osho but has not yet taken full retirement. When did this happen?

We search google for an answer and below is what we get:

Vinod Khanna met Osho in the 1970s. Influenced by Osho, Khanna soon started to wear orange robe, normally worn by the spiritual guru’s disciples. [Source]

In 1970 Rajneesh spent time in Bombay initiating followers known as “neo-sannyasins.” [Source]

So, the photo seems to be clicked between 1970-75.

Now, when did Indira Gandhi visit Mumbai and stayed at Raj Bhavan in this period?

We searched on google and found this:

So, the picture was taken in 1973–most likely in June of the year!

Key takeaway

Connecting the dots is a skill that can help us get closer to the truth. We can become almost like a real-life Sherlock Holmes!