Recently when we drove to Delhi on the Gwalior-Delhi highway, I saw the name of this Dr. Sheikh splashed on all the walls by the highway as far as eye could see. He belonged to Mathura and the ads started almost as soon as we left Gwalior. He obviously worked in tandem or in partnership with another doctor, whose name I don’t recollect.
Being a great hoarding buff, I read all the ads that I come across, including the cement and steel ads that one can see in the wilderness of India. So there is no way I would have missed these gems!
Anyone who travels by train or road to and from Delhi, would have seen them — the huge ads on the walls. They span all the walls that run parallel to the tracks and highways – giving the name of the ‘doctors’ who treat ‘gupt rog’ (sexual disorders and diseases), bavasir (piles) and kamzori (impotence). There was this guy in Regarpura, a crowded part of central Delhi whose ads started at the New Delhi railway station and went on up to maybe Bhopal or Jhansi or did it end at Delhi, having started at the last mentioned stations?!! I don’t remember this particular doctor’s name, but one name has stuck with me all these years: Dr.Karwal; only, I don’t remember the city!
I have often wondered why these ‘doctors’ only advertise on the walls or in the classified section of the newspapers. Sometimes the ads carry photos which resemble magicians, headgear and all! It is almost clandestine, despite the huge wall ads, if you know what I mean. In this day and age when even such diseases as TB and HIV have come out of the closet and people talk about the most intimate and personal things openly and in a matter-of-fact way, what is the need to advertise their ‘expertise’ through the medium of walls? And most of all, which person in his or her right mind would confidently go to someone who did this? I mean, any educated and intelligent person would rather go to a hospital or clinic with certified doctors to get treated for their intimate problems, wouldn’t he?
And why advertise on the walls leading into and out of a city, for heaven’s sake?
I have this funny image of individuals travelling into these cities anxiously scanning the walls trying to find a ‘doctor’ who would treat their shameful disorders, away from the prying eyes of their own city and its inhabitants, who might recognise them and broadcast to the world how so-and-so had been spotted at the clinic for ‘gupt rog’! Isn’t it safer then to go to a different city, consult a ‘doctor’ there and then slink away quietly before anyone they know sees them?
What stumps me though is, why go to some ‘doctor’ who might well be a quack for all you know, and trust him with his ‘secret’ problems? And that too in a different city, assuming my observations in the above paragraph are correct? 😀 I am also curious to know how they would have follow ups? Would they drive down all the way there or take a train ride to the secret destination, giving their families some weird alibi for their trip?
If these doctors indeed are doing a service to the public, why only ‘secret’ diseases? Why not a dental, eye, chest or some other part of the body? I think it is illegal to advertise medical services. If so, do these disciplines advertised by these so-called doctors not fall under the category of medical services? Mind you, they do not proclaim to offer alternative therapies or even advertise their cures as desi or ayurvedic, which means that they are treating patients with allopathic drugs, right? Wonder why the IMC is turning a blind eye to this obviously lucrative business.
I have been intrigued by this wall ad phenomenon for years. Have you guys come across similar ads in and around your city? I am curious to know!