17 February 2014

The walls speak out


'We are layered and un-layered, again and again' -- Pic courtesy Sunday Times


[In a parallel universe, of course]

It’s that time again.  Life is not easy as it is, what with tuition masters, karate masters, concert organizers, companies having sales, rent-a-protest NGOs and others fighting one another in a mad defacing competition all year round.  Elections, however, make things even more miserable. 

As far as us walls go, there is nothing major or minor about elections.  Whether it is to elect one person (President), a dozen (Parliament) or several dozen (PCs), it makes no difference.  Every square inch of wall-space is fair game.  Now paint and some decorative cement work is fine for that’s like eye-shadow, lip gloss and rouge; but can you imagine your face being plastered with stickers of people you don’t know, possible find despicable and even downright ugly?  And all the paaappa!  Ugh!

We are neutrals in this business of electing people and one reason for this is that those who get elected to jack-all for us walls.  If at all, they remove us (when they think roads need to be widened) or when they think wall-removal makes for landscape improvement.  We are fine with that.  Nothing lasts forever; we are fully cognizant of this.  It makes for a better afterlife, after all – paappa-less, ugly-mug-less and all.  We return to our elements and continue our conversations in another language.  That’s fine with us. It’s the this-life of it all that sucks.

The problem is that we have to stand and take it without uttering a word of protest.  That’s rape of sorts.  The worst part of it is the paucity of creativity.  We see candidate after candidate describing themselves using the same adjectives.  They are all honest, people-friendly, competent, experienced and brave, and moreover are only interested in making things better for everyone.   When we read these signs we want to puke.  That’s tough – keeping the puke inside because we are puke-challenged. 

We can’t even remember the last time someone said something truthful.  Now if someone said ‘I don’t have much experience, I can’t say I am skilled, there are times I am a bit scared, there are people who I can’t stand and I really can’t guarantee I will make things better, but I will certainly try,’ it would be refreshing.  Someone can say, ‘I won’t promise that I will eradicate bribery and corruption, but I will pledge not to take bribes,’ and all things considered such a poster would be (relatively speaking) an adornment. 

But we are talking ‘real’ here and not ‘fantasy’.  Take a look around.  What do you see?  Pasty faces, a lot of make-up, smiles that quickly morph into smirks in your mind as you recall all the smiles that came before and what happened to them, terrible designs, weak payoff lines and way too much ‘in-your-face’.  Do you see the walls, those brick-mortar contraptions if not for whose existence, these posters would have no place to hang?  We often see ‘thank you’ posters following elections.  The winners say ‘Thanks for electing’ and the loser would say ‘I thank the intelligent among the voters who tried to get me elected’. Have you ever seen any candidate or party say ‘Thanks are also due to the walls, too numerous to mention individually, whose silent support (obtained without permission) greatly contributed to this victory’? 

Well, think about it.  You thank the banker who takes your money – for taking it (as though he’s not going to make bucks by using it to offer loans at higher interest) – but you just pass us by without even noticing us.  You spit or piss on us if you need to relieve yourself one way or another.  And you glance at us only when some nutcase who thinks he or she has a pretty face hangs it.  Enough to cause a nervous breakdown, don’t you think?

One of these days….well…..one of these days…we will petition Gotabhaya to go the whole hog:  bring us down, drive us to extinction, get his brother to outlaw a rebirthing of walls. 

Let us tell you right now, straight, that we are not going to taking all this lying down (or standing up). Oh yes!  We are working on a secret weapon which will allow us to secrete a magic liquid to turn all smiles into grimaces and all good complexions into pock-marked aberrations that will turn ardent loyalist into staunch opponent.

There’s more.  That’s a secret. 

For now, we invite you to take a look at us.  It might be the last time.

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