Friday, September 24, 2010

Messy Delhi & CWG

Hi !
Back again after a break!
And in light of the upcoming Common Wealth Games next month, here’s something……

Is Delhi Clean Enough for CWG 2010?
Manisha Gupta

With Common Wealth Games barely two weeks away, shouldn’t we Indians be aware of hygiene & cleanliness? We’re not unaware of these trivia but there’s a catch. Being educated and hygienic is one thing but keeping our place clean, in the Indian context, has a very different connotation. Our concept of cleanliness is……. cleaning our place by throwing our garbage at someone else’s door! Almost always, garbage removed from one place lands up at another. We don’t want to project a dirty Delhi in October.
The other day, I saw this woman sitting beside me in the bus, by the window, busy chewing “bhutta”. Soon she finished it and guess where the stub went? Right out the window. Mind you, she was not the uneducated types. No. she spoke reasonably good English, dressed neatly and wore the latest hairstyle. While I was contemplating reacting, I was in for more. The quick and easy disposal of the stub had given her a brain-wave. She thought of utilizing her time. She opened her reasonably expensive handbag and started throwing all unwanted articles. Old bus tickets, chocolate wrappers, unwanted bills and cash-memos, empty Bindi packets, used refills et al. Obviously all this was being flung straight out of the window only to probably land on some pedestrian’s head. But she had cleaned her handbag, rearranged the remaining contents and seemed satisfied.
Other habits have worse consequences. The biggest bane being ….the spit. Whether ordinary or “paan” laden, it is so…. unhygienic, disgusting and insensitive of people to just point their mouth in any direction and shoot…I mean spit. Do they ever realize that their spit laden “jet” may land on some fellow being? Some people even blow their nose and send the contents flying in whichever direction, least bothered about where it is going to hit or land. They have performed their “cleaning act”. While walking on the road, especially during rains, you have to dodge from one spot to another.
Here a spit there a fresh “paan” stain
Here a dog shit there an open drain.
Walking becomes more of a fox-trot, done with your handbag and umbrella in one hand, groceries in the other and lifting your sari a little with whichever hand will oblige, and then start……a step this side and another that side.
Another example of our cleanliness is when we walk our pets. We don’t want our doggy doing potty anywhere near our house. Neither do we want it done in our campus. So we take it to the neighbour’s compound wall or the neighbouring buildings. We coolly smile and look the other side while our doggy does his bit by the neighbour’s wall. We all know we do it.
But there’s no dearth of solutions. During my Japan stay, I noticed that when a Japanese takes his dog for a walk, he carries a specially designed bag. When the pet has answered his nature’s call the master cleans the mess and disposes it off in the nearest trash-bin. No wonder that country is almost antiseptically clean. So is Singapore. You don’t find filth, garbage, spit or dog-shit anywhere in the city. Reason- strict laws and stricter enforcement! Try spitting or throwing garbage on roads or public places. You’re sure to be fined. Ditto with Bhutan. They make sure their country remains spick and span. And for that these countries strictly enforce laws and make citizens abide by them even if it requires fine or punishment.
With Common wealth Games just round the corner and our “Dilli” still dirty and messy, isn’t it high time we emulate best practices of other countries and inculcate some sense and discipline in this city? Patna in a “Clean Bihar” campaign has started imposing fines for littering, urinating and throwing garbage in public places. What about the CWG host city? Only hoardings and ads won’t serve the purpose. Each citizen has to work towards achieving it. But for that imposing fine or punishment on offenders is of utmost importance.
I really wish we could become strict followers of discipline and rule and religious abiders of law just as they do in Singapore. Only then can we maintain our Delhi which is “our commonwealth”!

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