Saturday, October 01, 2005

A hopeful thought

I was walking to my office the other day. Its a 5 minute walk on the IT highway in Chennai to Tidel Park. On the way to my left is a slum beside one of the stinking waterways that are common in Chennai - the stinking waste water of the Buckingham canal below the elevated metro railway. I am not new to contrasts in India now. I have seen opulence and poverty rubbing cold shoulders with each other in most major cities of India. Here too, beside one of the most modern areas of Chennai's IT hub is a stinking sewage canal and slums lining it. This got me thinking and wanting to write about it for a long time.

As I have seen it, one of the strongest reasons still keeping India in the category of third world countries is its lack of cleanliness. No I am not talking about physical cleanliness. The lacking factor is the responsibility of keeping not only your body, but your surroundings also clean. Most of us do not care to keep our neighbourhood clean. We got better things to do, right? Think twice

Most people do not know how much difference a clean environment can make. The responsibility of keeping a clean neighbourhood is absent amongst most of us; 'Its not my business' - complain to the city corporation. And we keep living in this plight thinking the corporation is our slave that money can buy to clean up your neigbourhood. And even if money could buy a clean neighbourhood, how many would be ready to shelve out money for anything more than personal cleanliness? Having lived in another country, I have seen how responsible the people are to their neighbourhood and surroundings. Pure air to breath and clean living conditions are some of the simple pleasures I enjoyed. Of course, I too did my duty of disposing waste only in the common waste bin, never littering on the streets etc. But in this country, I see people lost in the gleamy hopes for material happiness and a better future that they neglect the present. Its a sad attitude. Not even a handful realize that their present living could be elevated to much higher standards if they consciously do their part to keep their homes and their surroundings clean.

In Chennai and in most metros, I have seen the city corporation installing waste baskets in almost all residential areas. But to the people of developing India, it is something new and they had lived without it for so many years that they don't know its use, so they conveniently ignore it. Everyone's world is frantically paced. But we truly need to stop and look at ourselves because the present is what we need to enjoy and we are living in a un-clean present hoping for a better future.

Most people in India hope one day to settle abroad. Why? Because we envy their clean environs and living conditions. Just try to go there and you realize subtle truths like you need to dump your waste in the waste baskets ONLY, along with a whole list of rules which the people there happily follow for a clean living. And most Indians realize this only when they go abroad. Till then, its all a rosy picture as if it is paradise.

So if its just all about doing your part to society, why can't you do your part in your very home place? You've got the present to act on, rather than waiting for the future!

We have all that we are yearning for, but never can open our eyes and realize it. India is beautiful. It has got all the types of climates, all the types of terrains, all kinds of people, a culture to be proud of, and a multitude of things for everybody. But its the poorly laid out waste management that mostly paints a gory sight to the public. And we are fools to shy away from a truth like this. Its a common sight to see people dumping waste in an open area outside their house, whereas there is a public wastebasket a couple of blocks away. Is it laziness or ignorance? Neither. I think it is irresponsibility and egotism; egotism because people deep down think its a pathetic plight to have to dump their own waste by walking a few blocks in their neighbourhood and using the waste basket. The more affluent fools have employed servants to do this work. But how could the servants care more if the masters themselves are lurking away from cleanliness; cleanliness of the mind.

True living is realizing your own potential, counting your strengths and building up on them. Do your part and enjoy a happy living! Heaven and paradise are after all a state of the mind :)