For decades, CESC Limited’s electricity box on street pavements was more than a functional utilities box; it was a convenient place for advertisers to promote their services (‘PG wanted: Call so-and-so number’ or ‘Expert body massage: Satisfaction guaranteed’).
Finally, a counter-initiative, promising to aesthetically reclaim the electricity box, has begun. Last September, Trisys, a Kolkata-based communications agency, embarked on a pan-Kolkata project to paint and theme these electricity boxes. “We launched our project on Lake Temple Road, where the first few boxes were dedicated to Satyajit Ray and Soumitra Chatterjee, celebrating the fact that they had lived on the road for more than a decade each. The response from passers-by was so encouraging that we took this idea pan-Kolkata,” said a Trisys spokesperson.
The movement widened its footprint across various Kolkata streets – Southend Park (where electricity box artworks celebrated residents like SD and RD Burman as well as Rupam Islam), Park Street (where artworks celebrated Surrendra and Jit Paul, Mother Teresa, Pam Crain, Louis Banks, Biddu, Flury’s, SkyRoom as well as educationists like Father Bouche and Father Joris of St Xavier’s) and Mirza Ghalib Street (where artworks celebrated the poet after whom the road was named).
Even as Trisys was widening its footprint with the objective of transforming pavement realities, it encountered a pleasant surprise: a second agency joined in. Abin Chaudhuri & Associates engaged a team of painters to provide electricity boxes a make-over in Hindustan Park, Pratapaditya Road and Woodburn Park, transforming street aesthetics.
The result is a visible transformation. “For one, companies have stopped pasting advertising handbills and posters on the electricity boxes,” said Trisys. “and two, these boxes have emerged as signposts indicating that ‘Kolkata cares’.
This initiative, possibly the first such attempted across India, is likely to sustain. “We are putting our cash down to sustain this initiative across more city pockets, recreating the history of those neighborhoods and their residents. We believe that this will enhance the pride of Kolkatans in their city,” indicated Trisys.
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