I decided to walk a considerable amount of distance from my Internship today (I don’t much love my love handles). My phone’s jack wouldn’t work (Cheap Micromax!) so I was rendered without music. Thus I decided to just observe different things near me, some were quite subtly disturbing.
Vikhroli to Govandi is a predominantly Islamic region, at least near the highways. There were numerous small shops I came across throughout the journey; machine shops, automobile, used paper but surprisingly not many meat shops despite of several goats being herded. These regions were always marked by the typical Islamic flags analogous to the Pakistani national flag- the green symbolises nature and the star and crescent which has now widely come to be used as Islamic symbols, was first used by the Ottoman Army and is said to represent the Greek Goddess Diana (Or sun and moon God).
When I came to Mumbai, it had just been declared the seventh dirtiest city in the world. I got to know why! When I reached Govandi, the highway which was very well made with proper footpaths, boasted of brown graffiti. There were faeces lying all around- Human faeces!!! As I walked on, a kid came running with his brush dangling and started painting a few feet away from me. Now maybe the government has been incapable of providing sanitary conditions, but it takes very little to find yourself a bush or even the Naala just beside your society that I presume was for the same purpose given its metallic black colour. But in the end we are Indians!
Even in my internship, there is a washroom provided and just beside it is the drinking water. It takes everyone 3 seconds to enter the washroom and wash their tiffin, but Indians don’t take that much trouble do they; if there is infinite drinking water, we should use infinite drinking water. When someone was asked to clean utensils inside the washroom by their seniors, he protested that it was unfair to single him out and that others should be asked to do the same.
It is not that other countries are very clean. You’d see cigarette butts all over Europe, places in Italy were as dirty as some Indian places and I even saw a man peeing on a building at the centre of Amsterdam (to be fair he must be really high). But, Europe always maintains/forced to maintain the basic civic sense. There were instances where my father would pick a used napkin by a fellow Indian traveller and put it in the dustbin 3 feet away, when my mother would come out in disgust when a lady would leave the used toilet papers lying on the floor or the best of all, the following-
You would rarely find dustbins in most parts of India; I generally keep the wrappers etc. with myself till I get home. I have no qualms about doing my business in a jungle, but I would never puke in a polythene and leave it below my seat for someone else to poke it, just because I am embarrassed. I generally make it a point not to spit out gum without wrapping a paper piece around it. A little bit of discomfort every now and then can make a beautiful change in the long run.