If you live opposite a wall, things can be very tiresome indeed. Ah no, there are no intended metaphorical meanings – I should know, given our house is on a busy road which you can cross to come face to face with a sweeping college wall. As we stand in the balcony on a summer evening, what strikes the eye is not the brooding football-goal in the college playground, but several souls busy with their business outside. Lining the wall throughout its length are people who either have bladders filled to the brim or are fetishists when it comes to taking a leak. The wall must be much-sought-after…people even come along visiting in their cars and disembark to find for themselves if the exciting tales of urinating-on-the-college-wall-pleasure bear any truth.
It was a few months ago that some residents of our colony got along to put their foot down on this business.
“We will engage in horticulture. The place will be decorated with potted plants and fountains and flowers…” began one, enthusiastically waving his hands about. He had visited the Mughal Gardens last weekend. “We will even tile the wall with some images of our respected Gods. Lord Krishna, Shiva, Durga…” said another. He had recently been to the Isckon Temple. In a matter of a week, the wall opposite our house painted a different picture. There were tiles all over the section and Hindu Gods and Goddesses oversaw the fleeting Delhi traffic. Potted plants nodded in the breeze, dahlias and chrysanthemums showed off their sparkling clothes. Tins of white paint were emptied and then swept away. Delighted with the transformation, we went to peaceful beds and dreamt of kids picnicking opposite the wall, the ground covered with mattresses and baskets.
The next evening dawned bright and beautiful. The sky was spattered with pluvial clouds, the trees dancing in the whispering wind. We stood in the balcony, beaming with pride. “There’s nothing collective effort cannot achieve.” We nodded intelligently, even philosophically. Motorbikes raced by, bicycles were pedalled along. A few curious walkers looked around as they walked by, pleased with the sudden green fingers prodding them in the grimy Delhi road.
“Look at that guy for instance.” we said, watching a middle-aged man approaching a potted dahlia plant. “I am sure he wants to click pictures of our new garden.”
“Seems to me,” piped in a neighbour (from across the fence our houses have in common), “the crowd we are getting across the street has also got nobler.”
We smiled and exchanged pleasantries about our naturo-religious cure to the leaking bladder problem. As we waited for the man to produce his camera, he nonchalantly walked closer to the theistical wall. Before we could run to the rescue, the nubile, newly painted white received its first shower of piddle.