The Monument Adoptathon: Will Mortein Now Swat Taj’s Mosquitoes?


The Monument Adoptathon: Will Mortein Now Swat Taj’s Mosquitoes?

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

It doesn’t matter if you’re standing in a mausoleum or a temple, it’s tough to appreciate history when you’re being eaten alive by a horde of marauding mosquitoes. India’s most recognisable monument, the Taj Mahal, was in the news today after the Supreme Court put the Archaeological Survey of India on blast for allowing the historic structure to fall into a pathetic state of disrepair. Much like my pet dog that my parents gave away to my cousins in Vangaon because I didn’t clean up after him, the SC suggested the ASI is also incapable of maintaining the Taj Mahal, and passing responsibility for its upkeep to another agency.

We hear you, SC, and agree with you on almost everything, but we gotta say this: Is it wise to spend the taxpayers’ money on maintaining the monument, when all that the taxpayers are interested in doing is leaving “Sonu <3 Sweety”-style declarations of everlasting love on its centuries-old marble walls? Instead of a government agency, why not outsource the matter to a private sponsor? It will allow our public servants to focus on more important things, such as taking two bribes and three lunch breaks a day, as well as opening up a whole new realm of advertising opportunities for companies looking to Make in India. Here are a few starter suggestions:

More Smart, More Safe, Mortein Taj Mahal

When the Supreme Court brought up the noticeable discoloration of the Taj’s supposedly immaculate white walls, the ASI said the patches were caused by insect-breeding populations in the stagnant Yamuna river that flows adjacent to the tomb complex. While the court is justified in being sceptical about how algae can simply fly off the river’s surface and onto the walls, the Taj’s upkeep should be undertaken by Mortein, just to be on the safe side. The lawn can be watered with cans of bug spray, and the minarets’ spires can be used to balance burning mosquito coils. The noxious fumes will help with the insect problem, and also reduce footfalls – a way better solution than having to scrub off all the graffiti.

Standing Firm for Centuries, Viagra’s Qutub Minar

Looking at our skyrocketing population figures, it would be easy to think that impregnating their partners is not a problem that plagues Indian men. But this belief gets shook when you take a single ride in a Mumbai local and notice the hundreds of suspicious flyers advertising “men’s strength”. These are usually hawked by suspicious babas or snake oil salesmen, and are even less reliable than Rohit Sharma. Their market and consumers are in dire need of a globally approved method of achieving boners, and this environment, coupled with the relaxation of FDI norms, perfectly sets the scene for Viagra to take over the Indian aphrodisiac scene. Where better to kickstart their advertising campaign than the most phallic, rigid erection, I mean edifice, in the country? The Qutub Minar will become an enduring symbol of the virility of the Indian male for future generations.

Play with Fire at Burnol’s Chittorgarh Fort

In the first half of this year, Chittorgarh Fort saw more action than it had since Alauddin Khilji first laid siege to it. Groups of Rajput women marched in procession to its gates and swore to commit jauhar if Padmaavat was released. Thankfully, things didn’t come to that, but if Padmaavat taught us anything, it is “jo vachan nibhaye, woh Rajput.” Just in case anybody feels like coming back to make good on their word, Burnol should be entrusted with the upkeep of the fort. It will also allow for burn wards to be set up in the fort’s premises to treat any cases of misplaced communal pride.

A Harpic Challenge for the Ganga

While we’re handing out corporate sponsorships to national symbols, why stop at structures? The country’s natural wealth could also do with a slice of that sweet CSR pie. The Ganga is our most culturally significant river, but we’ve treated it like we treat practically every water body in the country – like a toilet. So why not in bring in the experts at cleaning shit up (literally) and let them go wild on the river? It can be a testing ground for new products, and before we know it, you’ll know which stretch of the river you’re on by sniffing the air for the scents of pine and lemon freshness.

Oh, my suggestions seem OTT? But what are the alternatives, really? Expecting government agencies and ourselves to show an iota of civic sense? I’ll put my money on these solutions working first.