“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.
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???
“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!”
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