Slight rains, traffic smog, a man pissing, crows, beetle spits, garbage, stink, .. and Im standing in front of a monument that marks one of the most important discoveries of medical science to this date. A monument, seventy yards of which lies the laboratory where Sir Ronald Ross discovered how Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. Yes Im talking about Kolkata, but what most of you would not have guessed is that the monument exists in the heart of the city.
A hundred m walk straight from the Nandan Cinema near Rabindra Sadan (easily accessible by metro). Be careful while trying to get to it as you can easily overlook it to be one of the abandoned entrances of the centuries old British Hospital now known as some CS hospital (the name I keep forgetting, Ill appreciate a correction).
Its a very insulting act this, to build a monument or a statue of someone to signify his/her greatness. What I can make out of this gesture is that we build something like that to remind us of them/their work forever as we walk pass them daily, but what happens really is that once every year it is freshly garlanded, cleaned off all the blessings that have fallen from heaven and then forgotten for another year. Talk about lifetime services. Another purpose that these monuments are claimed to serve is of becoming national assets as in a matter of national pride.
All those people who think one of the few remaining statues of Lenin in Kolkata is a matter of pride, might as well go and have a look at it (statuary warning: It is dangerous to stand and look at statues in the bussiest road of a city). They offer good backgrounds for photographs to foreigners who love to tell people back home how dirty our country is and in what deplorable living conditions we dwell.
Statues should serve the purpose of informing people about the person, especially the kids who react to such things. There was a time when fathers went to parks with their kids and told them about the statues they saw there. Now a days of course parents are as low in IQ as their kids. Sometimes even lower and sometimes surprisingly lower.
I went to a park in New Delhi once, this was almost 7 years back, there was this park in Friends Colony that had an upper lower half statue of Sardar Patel. An inquisitive kid asked his father (one of those low IQ fathers mentioned above) who that guy was and the man replied saying he was a Sardar who cut off his hair. Now I dont know if the father was amusing the kid or making fun of us sitting next to them but he bloody well paid for it. My grandfather, a retired navy man, wasnt particularly impressed and eventually that guy was indeed sorry as we later realised that he was also in the navy and my grandad was a bigger big shot that we thought he was.
The statues must be in places like parks or play grounds alright but with bold description on what the poor folk has done so that kids do not embarrace their parents. But then come to think of it, who goes to parks now a days. Senior citizens, lewd engineering students, teen-couples in absence of cheaper options, more lewd engineering students with their cell phones, the mali (gardner, because he works there, though most of the parks make you wonder what a mali possibly does there but then hes been there since before you were born and he doesnt charge the government too much for his services so why bother, everybodys happy, especially that couple).
I think the best place to install monuments or statues would be in an amusement park like appu ghar or water kingdom or essel world, where parents actually take their kids and where these heritages will get some left over love of the cleaners and be in presentable state.
Written with immense control of emotions.
With love and sarcasm.
PS: Just in case I become very famous and legendry, please dont install my statue anywhere please. A national holiday is fine I could use some blessings but I dislike being pissed and shat on as much as you do!