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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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“Be a Lion in your homeland, spit and shit anywhere you want” aka “Civic sense in India” aka “Heaven is here” - Part 3:  Keeping your surrounding clean is a sin. 

Heaven is here

Heaven is here. Keeping your surrounding clean is a sin.

After living and working for three years in US, my young friend Joe is now back in India. The emails he sent me prompted me to write a series of articles titled “Be a Lion in your homeland, spit and shit anywhere you want” aka “Civic sense in India” aka “Heaven is here”.

This is Part 3: Keeping your surrounding clean is a sin.

Dear Uncle Raj,

Greetings from Joe!

This morning around 6 a.m., the train stopped at Katpadi station for a long halt. My hunger kicked me out to buy something to eat to break my fast.

I walked on the platform towards the engine and found a stall where I bought a bottle of mango juice and a pack of breakfast neatly packed in a paper carton box with silver foiled coating. It had 3 idlis and 1 small vada, accompanied by sambar and a mint chutney.

I rushed to my coach, closed the screens on my coupe and started gobbling them, unsure of the taste, but to tackle my growling tummy. The sambar although sucked, the mint chutney definitely needs a great mention.

When I was done, it was time to trash it.

I searched thro’ the compartment for a trash-can or a bin, but failed in vain.

I went into the toilet and there was no bin.

I got down on the platform, walked around like a vagabond searching for a bin/trash-can.

Walked thro’ front and back along-side the train in-search of a trash-can, but failed again in vain.

At last, I was forced to throw my trash on the adjoining track, which was already a trash-dump.

I felt awkward and humiliated. I had no other option. I returned to my seat. 

Now, people in India are bent on globalization. They are emulating US and the European countries, by changing their culture and habits. Indians now eat at KFCs & McD’s, wear Hugo Boss & Gucci, drive Mercedes, BMW, Porsche & Maserati; but are not worried about their civic responsibilities, and do not have to the inclination to keep their environment clean and hygienic.

Is enforcement needed to tell us not to spit, shit, and litter anywhere we like, especially in public places?

When I look around here in India – be it a village, a town, a city, or a metro – I see nothing but heaps and mountains of trash. Here, one is free to throw whatever garbage wherever and whenever. It is the done thing. To many, keeping one’s surrounding clean seems to be a sin. 

I’m honestly doubtful if India could attract tourists from other countries with such a slovenly begrimed environment. If US was dumped like a dumpster (as India is portrayed here by me), will our NRI folks stay for long over there?

I’m feeling more stressed-out in the last couple of days after coming here with all these happening around me.

If only there is a sense of civic duty in everyone’s mind and if basic amenities as simple as a trash can be provided in public places then we can truthfully say, “Heaven is here… in India.”

Love & Prayers

Joe

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