February 20, 2012

Toilet Grafitti

They used to scare me- those grafitti of human anatomy that lined the walls of train toilets. No one
spoke about them to me, but of course, everyone must have known they were there. But to a little kid,
these were as scary as spooks.

Everytime I travelled by train, I used to instantly go and check the toilet, fearing their presence . It
used to worry me that people resorted to such obscenities. I vividly remember,, once reading “fuck
the nun” in the wall and discovering, to my raw horror, that there actually were a bunch of nuns in my

That night, I did not sleep well.

The next morning, I ran to see if the nuns were safe. They were talking amongst themselves normally and nothing seemed amiss. I breathed, relieved!

Many years later, after obscenity has become more common and human failings familiar, the toilet
grafitti does not bother me.

But even today, every once I enter an Indian train toilet, I scan the walls for fading ball point ink marks
and wonder which of the many I share space with, have such dark secret obsessions.

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Maira Gall