May 122013
When you realize why this wall decoration is genius, you will laugh!

When you realize why this wall decoration is genius, you’ll laugh!

“Why is the decoration in this alley so smart?” our New Delhi guide asked our India teacher tour group with an evil smile.

The seven of us clumped together in the tiny yellow alley, staring at the porcelain tiles showing Buddha, Jesus Christ, Ganesh, and assorted other deities. We were stumped.

The other end of the tiny alleyway where the decorations hang.

The other end of the tiny alleyway where the decorations hang.

We knew India has a passion for religion (or rather, a sea of many religions), but why would someone want to hang all these religious figures in this random alleyway in chaotic Paharganj, India?

Reader, before I reveal the answer, can you guess???

Why is it brilliant to hang this and other religious figures on an alley wall in India?

Why is it brilliant to hang Hindu deity, Hanuman, and other religious figures on an alley wall in India?

“Here is the answer,” our guide said, giggling. “If you notice, a lot of streets of India smell like… urine. This is because people in India tend to empty their bladders more freely in the outdoors than perhaps they might in your country. This building grew sick of the stench, so they figured out this solution: In India, people have respect and love for religion. Once these religious symbols were hung on the alley wall, people refused to urinate here anymore because they did not want to offend their deity or deities!”

Did you guess? 🙂


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  22 Responses to “Challenge: Why Is This Wall Decoration in India Genius?”

  1. At first glimpse i got the answer. cause i used to do the same in outdoor..

  2. Never would have guessed, but that’s frakin’ brilliant!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Clever — you’d think other alleys would catch on!

  4. Someone’ not stupid! What a great idea, and effective too. Thanks for giving me a laugh 🙂

  5. My guess of ‘attempting to unify religion’ wasn’t entirely of the mark.

  6. My guess was to avoid graffiti. I was on the right track, just not thinking quite so “biologically” 🙂

  7. Clever (and colorful) indeed!

  8. Well, its a great idea but why do people in India urinate in alleys and streets??

  9. Hahah, I love this! I didn’t guess that nor do I remember seeing anything similar on my trip to India…

  10. Ha! Makes sense…. Clever:)

  11. This is clever! What an interesting look into India Culture. A very fun anecdote.

  12. Brilliant! My first thought was along those lines, but never put it completely together. Very interesting!

  13. I love reading about clever solutions like this. This works out a whole lot better than the story I heard about the British solution, which was to install urinals in the alleyways near nightlife districts. They probably wouldn’t have had much respect for deities over there, so I guess that’s what worked for them. I also like the story of someplace that painted a picture of a housefly or a small target in the urinals, because guys can’t help but aim. It reduced splashing by something like 80%. Genius. Imagine if you were the guy who came up with one of these plans and then got to talk about it at the dinner table. That would be so great.

    • Love these other examples!!! And yes, it’s hilarious to imagine the dinner table conversations of the people who invented them. 🙂

  14. lol wow clever idea, I see it definitely worked like a charm

    • It did! The urine stench and splashes in that alley were zero! The same cannot be said, however, for the next alley over…

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