Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Indian let's-all-go-and-pee-on-the-wall urge

The Wall

I was defiled when I was a few weeks old. This burly man, his palms grappling at his crotch and his face contorted with anxiety and pressure, walked up to me. He took a look around, shuffled his feet a little to position himself comfortably and then unzipped. Wait a moment, he was… he was pissing on me. The ordeal had begun and my vision was being watered down.

He even bent backwards and arched his widdle stream higher, as if asserting his virility. “This feel’s like heaven,” I heard him whisper to himself. “Oh, hell,” I said to myself. Till then, I had only heard other walls speak about this but, here, it was actually happening to me. The bricks in me hissed in anguish. If there is one section of the society that is the most suppressed and voiceless, it is us – mute spectators to the great Indian let’s-all-go-and-pee-on-the-wall urge.

I mean, the government has made public “conveniences” for people to pee and shit in. Is it all that inconvenient to use them? Why deface us? And if you want more of them, for god’s sake, ask for them. India is a democracy – make the lack of toilets an election issue. George Bush won the last US election on the basis of something as vague and debatable as moral values. Toilets, by far, is a more concrete and valuable political agenda.

Come to think of it, who doesn’t need to take a leak? The men, the women, the children, the adults, the rich, the poor, the leftists, the rightists, the seculars, the religious… all need to unload themselves. Add to that the estimated 40 million diabetics in India and you have a bladder full of voters!

For a change, we wouldn’t even mind offering space to paste banners and posters heralding the popular uprising – the Toilet Revolution. From the very sound of it, it’s historical. That reminds me – can someone please let it be known to the Rajasthan University students that the standard of the glue they use to paste election posters all over the town is actually worse than the reprehensible and acerbic liquid we have to face each day.

But I dread a more loathsome and frightening prospect – what if the stray animals, hundreds of them, pick up the trick, especially the raging bulls on the roads with their colossal bladders? Already, the dogs, smarter than the rest, have picked up the zeitgeist of peeing on us from the humans. Or, has it been the other way round? Please stop pissing us off before we start crumbling with rage and, yes, shame.

As told to Debarshi Dasgupta


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