Do not spit here, for god's sake!
After all else failing, shopkeepers line basement of a commercial space at Deccan Gymkhana with images of different deities to discourage paan and tobacco chewers from spraying the walls red.
The walls around most offices and commercial establishments in the city can hardly be deemed drool-worthy. But the red stains that dot the surfaces, courtesy paan and tobacco chewers looking to make a mark, will force you to think twice. So, shopkeepers at a mercantile enterprise in Deccan Gymkhana decided it was time for some divine intervention.
The scene inside the basement of the building -, housing an SBI branch apart from various shops, and with a PMPML bus stop at the doorstep - was very different a few months ago, as all the walls, corridors and staircases were defaced with paan spittle. The retailers put up boards requesting people not to spit, but these were ignored. That prompted the businessmen to plaster the walls with as many as 50 photographs of Hindu gods and goddesses. That seems to have done the trick.
“Not far back, the circumstances were very different, as commuters and other people sans civic sense used to spray the walls, corridors, staircases etc with paan spittle,” said Dilip Mohite, president of Subhash Chadra Bose Pratishtan, whose office is in the same basement.
That wasn’t the only trouble. Mohite said that some vagrants would come to the area at night, consume alcohol, and urinate. Every morning, after opening up their shops, the first item on the agenda of the retailers was to scrub up the ‘colourful’ walls.
“We put up notices at every nook and corner, asking people to refrain from spitting, and also warned them that if anyone’s found despoiling the property, he/she would be penalised to the extent of the law. But that had no effect, as people continued ‘shooting their mouths off’ and ruining the ambience,” said Mohite.
After realising that people with poor civic sense are incorrigible, the shopkeepers opted to cover the bottom parts of all the walls with 50 images of various Hindu deities. “Soon, the spitting menace took a drastic dip and the walls are now mostly taintless.”
50 Images of gods and goddesses now adorn the walls of the basement