Saturday, February 16, 2008

pssst.... creativity in 'full flow'

this post is inspired by 'writings on the wall' by 'tys on ice' and 'why'' by prats.

one of the biggest challenges faced by public administrators in indian cities (and also by the superintendents responsible for cleanliness in trains and by the members of the 'cleanliness' committees in countless housing societies) across the vast indian sub-continent is the scourge of defacement of public property. specifically the literary outpourings of sundry love-struck romeos on numerous walls that stand stoically while such above-mentioned mischief is being perpetrated!

while i whole-heartedly agree with the view that defacement should be discouraged and that such defilers should be penalised, i cannot help but appreciate some of the most humorous and insightful messages that i have come across over time. in fact, there is also a branch of graffiti including street/sidewalk drawings which is viewed as art.

the majority of the graffiti that we see all around us (lifts/elevators, public bathrooms, public transportation) can be classified as lewd and 'not for family viewing'. but the best graffiti are the pithy, humorous and politically incorrect messages that are like rare gems.

one of the best examples that i have come across (on the net) was about a line scrawled in a men's room which read : 'marie, if you can read this, its all over between us!'

and graffiti in school bathrooms sometimes aptly communicate the not-so-kindly feelings of the students towards their teachers. one of the best i came across reads - drive carefully - don't kill a child. wait for teacher.

sometimes the angst felt by the student community to the prevailing political situation also is reflected in these scrawls. i remember during the highly volatile situation in colleges during the mandal commission protests reading a message in my college men's room - (next to a line drawn horizontally) if you can reach this line join the fire brigade! (and next to another line drawn about a foot below the earlier line) this one is for sc/st!

and there were graphic ones which were usually designed to shock the viewer. some of them did have their humorous element.

one of the classic ones which i used to find in most schools and colleges was the one where you were asked to follow the arrows drawn in front of you while you were relieving yourself and which progressed up to the ceiling and even behind you sometimes. and then right at the end there is a line which says - watch out you fool! you are tinkling on your shoes!

so i guess i must confess here that i am a fan of graffitti and the pithy humor and wisdom most of them hold. but i prefer grafitti which doesn't deface public property. i prefer them on unused surfaces or on t-shirts and websites :)

p.s. i always used to wonder whether the girls in school (and the women in general) were as expressive and creative on the walls and doors of ladies' rooms? (i remember reading an article about men getting 'creatively expressive' on the walls of the ladies compartments in the local trains in mumbai and offending the sensibilities of the commuters. i still haven't come across a case of the reverse happening! i wonder why?)


Ziah said...

I like that arrow game:) Whoever wrote that must've been bored outta his brains.. P.S: Was there a video cam in that loo for after fx follow-up???
You ask why we women dont scrawl in walls? its coz we women have better things to do! mwahaha:)

Ladies compartment grafitti is basically some missionary abusing poor jesus's benovelent face for some ulterior apostatic venture or some cheapo hopin someone would actaully call them up for "good times"... my aunty samaj makes some great jokes on those ones..:)

Vinesh said...

i've always wondered how it was in girls' toilets too - if they had graffiti!

some good ones you've written about :-)

Tys on Ice said...

Iam truly honoured to have inspired a post on the worthiness of wall mother will be proud..

Ps said...

Usually there is absolutely no grafitti in womens loos.May be women have a more evolved sense of humour?;-) Or may be they are just cleaner!:-)

Guruprasad said...

@ziah : i hope they didn't have cams. they would have a lot of material they could use against me!
i'm sure most of us would love to hear the aunty samaj jokes. maybe you could put them up in a post?

@vinesh : i'm hoping the ladies here would answer that question. i'm intrigued too :)

@tys on ice : i'm forwarding this post to mom to ensure that she doesn't miss out the link. this way i can ensure you get your kudos from your mom. i feel so good about having done my good deed for the day! :P

@Ps : i completely agree with the evolved sense of humor bit. cleaner? i have serious doubts about that one!
most of the women-folk i have discussed this with tell me that the men's loos & bathrooms in public places like airports, train stations, restaurants, etc. are far cleaner than the ladies counterpart. is that true?

Thinking aloud said...

nah! u won't find grafitti in a women's loo...we are too busy trying to get out as fast as we can to even bother... ;)

Prats said... you did write a follow up ...

ladies loos are maybe just like their homes ...cleaner, we have better things to do than waste our time in that stinking cube

Shruti said...

The women here will want to spank me but, frankly.. I do wonder- when there's so much space and scope for creativity, why does someone not do something on the loos' walls. Maybe they think there's someone around watching.. someone who sticks to laws?
Superb examples by the way :-D

Gazal said...

"we just inspire creativity...err grafitti,but don create any"
-all the women of the world.

i guess women choose to express themselves,thro more open and cleaner forums like blogs than walls.

Guruprasad said...

@TA : i'm sure guys also should be trying to get out as fast as possible, especially in the public loos. but they still spend time getting creative in there. so there must be some other deeper reason which separates men from women.

@prats : but that's exactly my point. men's loos also stink, but they still do such things.... n women don't. i still wonder why?

@shruti : if they thought somebody was watching them they would not use the loo :P
i think for men its also like vicarious pleasure. like voyeurism. i am just guessing here. maybe some psycho-analysts will have some better explanation..

@gazal : i guess so. but i can also point out some 'not so clean' blogs too. so i don't think its to do with clean or dirty places... its about men vs. women in this respect. don't you think?

rads said...

lol@graffiti. :)
Of course there's some little scribbles here and there in the females restrooms. But see, more than that, it's the incessant chatter that happens within that bothers me. I blogged abt it - silent p-ing


chris said...

nice topic...tho i think its not just the loos,...the hostel walls, college lifts , staircases ( i once saw a stircase with proper arrows on the walls signalling UP -DoWN!!)
the boys hostel walls are more scribbled than any girls

Joy said...

I think it is just the matter of where we would like to spend time. Men, in general are fascianated doing things that do not easily appeal to ladies. I think we like to talk more and you guys like to draw more :)

Gazal said...

and one more topic to debate on in the MAN vs WOMAN battle.
i agree with joy...we just like to talk more...or maybe it's time for a change!!!!!

Gazal said...

and one more topic to debate on in the MAN vs WOMAN battle.
i agree with joy...we just like to talk more...or maybe it's time for a change!!!!!

Preethi said...

he he heeee that's so darn funny :D
To ur question tho' No i've never seen any graffiti anywhere in a women's bathroom, except a few confessions of their 'love for someone'!
Lemme be honest here (except for very few % of women) most others don't see these things as humor! Falls under 'filth'. They are conditioned to stick to the rules i guess.. same reason why all those creative comments in theatres comes from guys while girls giggle.
May be 'Men' are performers and women enjoyers!! he heeee

Deepa Krishnan said...

I'd prefer to think we're a more evolved gender :D