Spring cleaning reminds me of my favorite festival- Diwali. My mom pestered me to clean my stuff and room otherwise I knew there would be no festival money from my parents. Innocent baby me did all the cleaning every year. Summer nights in Delhi meant taking a walk after dinner and licking Fruity Lick Lollies (No PUN intended seriously). My dad was always careful to see where I threw the wrapper in the end. It always went inside Bhola Uncle’s cane basket next to his Ice cream cart. It therefore became my habit to always ensure to dispose the wrappers in dustbin. There were many instances when I couldn’t find a bin so I always kept the wrapper in my bag or Blazer’s pocket and threw it when ever I saw a bin.
Indians have traditionally been cleanliness and hygiene freaks-probably that can justify the concept behind Diwali’s Spring Cleaning fervour or the glary warnings from Grandmas not to wear shoes in kitchens. It was a tradition in many households to broom the house twice- once in morning and then yet again in evenings. Heights to it is the concept of mopping the floor with a wet cloth with bare hands. It was the duty of the maid to do it every day without fail. Before you settle in your mind that this post relates to mopping/brooming(not your fault the title and so far my writing suggests this only) I need to clarify (cleaning bug stings me here again with my lingo) that this is about India’s status as not so clean country in world scenario. The first thing one gets to see after getting off the airplane or train is FILTH. Why are our roads covered with wrappers, bottles, cow dung or even human dung????? Why our homes are sparkly clean but not our roads that lead to our homes? Why do little children do not care before throwing their Mc Donalds wrappers and Coke cans out of their moving cars on main roads -which is dangerous also considering it might hurt the traffic at the back.
I remember one summer break when two of my very irritating cousins came to stay with us. Dad and mom tagged the morons with me for the night walk and not much to my delight got ice creams for them. They opened it, slurped it like hungry cats and vainly threw the wrappers on the road and not in cane basket which was right next to them. I was so so so annoyed that I asked both of them to pick the wrappers from the road and then throw it in basket. They declined yet again proving their feline nature. I lectured them for next 15 minutes while my parents talked to some other couple nearby. They were just not understanding the concept behind throwing it in the bin. The elder of the two who was in grade 9th then simply told me the MCD sweeper will clean it in the morning. I was shocked to hear it and knew there was no point in filtering some wisdom through the holes in their minds as they were as small as salt and pepper shaker’s holes. I picked them up and threw in the bin. What the wrappers not the cousins!!!
I have always loved going to India gate and sitting next to the lake and enjoy yet again Ice cream. Families come to India gate to have a nice picnic brunch and share a jolly good time. Wow what a time for family bonding! But hey what about the mess they leave on the grass. Forget the grass-they dump the plastic bottles in the lake there. And how can I forget mentioning the chewing gums in public transport or toilets. Ewwwww the toilets are the worst- the much avoided trip to the public toilet is like a battle the little twitchy nose has to bear and defend itself against the poisonous potions served by the apocalyptic Nebraskians. It is indeed not the nebraskians fault because there was no concept of toilets or flushing in their era! Sorry dear……
Has any one seen the sad state of Dal Lake in Kashmir- its an open garbage. Has anyone seen the Taj Mahal’s dirty city locales in Agra? Has anyone seen any any historical monument or temples of Varanasi or Haridwar or Rishikesh clean? Taking a dip near the Ganges is a dirty business- you can see people washing their clothes, rinsing their mouths, women potty training their kids and washing their bums- all in the holy water of Ganges. Here I would like to add that the mosques and gurudwaras and churches are still way cleaner. People enjoy mangoes and bananas and leave the skins for the holy cow maata to chew. The cow maata then blesses us with cakes of her dung right in the middle of the road.
Technically and practically it is quite difficult to clean a country as big as India. But even if a tiny step is taken wouldn’t it be a tiny step less for someone to do cleaing of our own waste? Even if we see someone throwing a wrapper on the road a friendly reminder to tell them to throw in the dust bin may help in the long run. I know few people have thick hide (a la my moronic cousins) but still the thought will get in their mind next time whenever they will throw something on the road. We can actually give a really frowning disapproving look to people who spit on the road or enjoyingly paint the sanguine of their lovely Paans drawing a graffiti on the walls? I feel the smallest of the efforts can only help in India and not some big campaigns like- ‘Clean Delhi Healthy Delhi’ or some others. Such campaigns are like little pictures which flash for few seconds across our brains. But a small lecture or a disapproving frown will effect the iotic brains of the whole filthy nebraskians to behave and realize their presence in the current century. Its important to remind everybody that its not only our house that needs brooming-its our roads, our surroundings and not to forget EVEN OUR BRAINS!
Hey but we need Dr Dolittle to explain the sense to this mighty vain cow! Eh