Attractions of the Roadside Walls

BY SRUTIMALA DUARA

 

Dogs seem to be attracted by the poles, pillars and car wheels to release themselves. I do not understand this attraction, nor do I understand the attractions of the roadside walls that lure men to release themselves. The wall right in front of our building is lined with men facing it. When my husband parks our car in Ulubari bazaar and goes to buy things from the bazaar, and as I sit in the car waiting for him, invariably I find at least two three men walking to the large closed gate of an office building. Why are these men attracted to the roadside walls? You may argue. …Nature’s call. But is it always this urgency or habit?

 

I can well understand the lack of public toilets in the city to be one of the reasons as to why the roadside wall attracts men. We do need public toilets in the different areas of the city. If a toilet is, for instance, only in Panbazar, one can’t walk from Ulubari to Panbazar to release himself. My point is that toilets have to be constructed widely and also maintained well. I feel a small amount, say Rs.1, as payment could help in the maintenance. If the amount is more in the pay and use toilets, people would happily use the free walls on the road. Or perhaps they might restrain themselves till they reach home.

 

What solution can one come up with to stop the disgusting sight of men lining up the roadside walls? I have seen pictures or tiles with images of gods and goddesses being put up on the walls to keep out peeing men. At some places there are even chants of Om Namah Shiva! Not out of just bhakti for Shiva, but to make the Neelkanth keep away the men facing the walls. But how much burden can gods take? Already we have a lot of requests sent up. Can something be done about it? Maybe a fine of Rs.100 for polluting the walls?

 

Srutimala Duara is an academic and a writer.