Making India Clean

Making India Clean

Well, I don’t have a “Before” and “After” pic to validate my claims, but this is a true story.

I was part of a workshop this weekend at Manpho Convention Center, next to Manyata Tech Park. There were plenty of educated, rich businessmen who had come, dressed up in a prim and proper suit. Just outside this center, is a tea stall. During the morning break, hoards of *educated* people flocked the tea-stall, drank tea and smoked cigarettes…Now, just next to the tea-stall is a dustbin…which ideally is where the used paper tea cups should have been found. Alas, this is *India* (so, they say) and hence, most of them just threw their cups down on the roadside, mimicking what every other person was doing. At one point when I reached that tea-stall, there were hundreds of tea cups on the roadside, making it seem like a sea of white on the jet black road. Well, typically, I would have gone “Look at those foolish people, can’t they throw it in the bin, can’t they take care of India…blah blah blah”. But, for the first time in my life…I felt intense sadness, and not hatred for the people who littered the place. It was then that I began to truly change.

I went up to the tea-stall, picked up the dustbin, placed it right in the middle, and start picking up each and every tea cup from the road. One by one, people started turning and looking at what I was doing…I went on picking the cups…one after another…and throwing it in the bin. Nobody helped me out….but, most importantly….nobody stopped me. I finished putting all the tea cups into the bin…and just walked away…not speaking a single word. In the evening, when I went back to the same tea-stall, I kid you not…not even one used tea cup was on the roadside, everything was inside the bin. This is true, and I’m not mincing words here.

From this, I understood three major things in life:

1. If you find a place filthy, PLEASE clean it, instead of waiting for someone else to do it or cribbing about how filthy India is. Chances are, you might have been the cause for filth somewhere in India.

2. If you are doing something good, people might not necessarily help you out, but…surely…they will NOT stop you from doing it.

3. If a person finds a place clean, they will NOT make it filthy. It is only if someone finds the place already filthy…that they will litter it more. Next time you go to United States or Netherlands or UK and come back boasting and cribbing about how clean those countries are and how filthy India is…Stop. We know it. You don’t need to tell us what we already know. But, you can tell us one thing. What can YOU do about it?

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Courage: A Day in the Life of a Soldier

Day#4 of the VIBGYOR CBC challenge.
G for Green.

It was unlike any other day in Maya’s life. She woke up with a splitting headache and a severe pain in her chest. Something was not right. She could feel it in her veins.

 The shrill ring of the landline disturbed the morning peace. Massaging her head, she picked up the phone without a thought.

 “Hello?” she said.

“Maya?” her dad answered.

It was that voice. There was something dreadful in that voice. She knew something bad had happened. Something wasn’t right.

“Ya dad?” she questioned feebly.

“Vishnu is dead, Maya” he whispered, and cried out aloud.

Maya’s hands shook on the phone. Her heart missed a beat. Tears wellled up in her ears. But, she wanted to stay strong. For her dad. For Vishnu.

She nodded, and closed her eyes to shut the tears from flowing down her cheeks. “How did it happen dad?”

“He was shot dead while fighting terrorists, Maya” he said.

She nodded silently.

“Maya? Are you there?” he jerked her out of her thoughts.

“Huh? Am alright dad . . . Will call you back in a while. Take care.”

She put the receiver back, wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes, and smiled.

***

“I got to surrender Krish”

“Are you out of your mind Vishnu? You can’t do that. You will die. Just let the enemies take over our building. We can’t do anymore.” Krish said.

Vishnu smiled. “You speak just like our politicians do”

“Don’t be stupid! And, please don’t call me a politician. Scold and slap me if you want to” Krishna said, wearing a bemused smile on his face.

It was freezing cold. On top of the himalayan ranges, the temperatures were -20 degrees. Vishnu hadn’t eaten for days. His only source of food was snow. He used to lick it off rocks. He used to squeeze it and drink it. It kept him alive. Vishnu had no bullet proof jacket. Just a sweater. A green sweater on top of his green army attire. It was hardly sufficient. He was shivering because of the cold. He paced up and down the tunnel where they were hiding.

Outside the tunnel, the enemy lay in wait. Gunshots were heard all around. He couldn’t bear it anymore. He had to make sure that India would not surrender. India cannot lose, he thought. He had to give himself up. He wanted to make sure atleast Krish was alive to fight the enemies. He was ready. Ready to sacrifice his life.

He wasn’t afraid to die. He never feared death. ‘Dying when serving Mother India, is never a death. It is nirvana’ he used to say. ‘People living a useless life, with no dreams and aspirations . . . they are the ones who die. Not me.’

He removed his green sweater. “Keep this safe Krish” he said, and suddenly, without a warning, he rushed into the darkness. Into enemy territory.

“Vishnu . . . don’t go!” Krish screamed.

But, it was too late.

The sound of gunshots resonated throughout the tunnel. There was a blast. And then . . . silence.

***

In the two years since Vishnu’s death, Maya had achieved everything she thought was possible. She had become a famous writer, just like how Vishnu wished her to.

One thing kept her going. The letter. Vishnu’s letter.

She opened the cupboard, and took the letter in her hand. She knew the content by heart. She had read it a million times.

“Dear Maya,

One day this letter will find you when am long dead, and gone. Gone from this earth, yes. But, never from your memories dear. Never away from you. I will love you always darling. Today. . . and for an eternity more.

Am sorry that I couldn’t bid you goodbye, nor could I kiss your beautiful forehead before I departed . . . but, I just want to tell you that I have loved nobody else as much as I have loved you. Not even God can love you as much as I do. I will never go away darling, am always with you . . . look around you, look beside you. I will be there. By your side. To wipe your tears. Be strong my dearest.

In my next birth, I want to love you again. I want to hate you again. I want to marry you again. And, I want to spend my entire life with you again.

I also want to be an army man again dear. I want to serve Mother India. And, I want to sacrifice my life for our nation. Again. I know you will understand my love. For my country.

Promise me that you will never cry dear. Always smile darling, because I love your smile. I will die a hundred deaths just for that smile of yours.

I have enclosed with this letter my green sweater, a hundred kisses, and my heart. I love you.”

A tear fell from the corner of her beautiful eye.

She silently wiped the tear away.

“This one is for you Vishnu” she whispered.

And, she smiled.

***

soldier crying

“Playing in England, at temperatures of 2 degrees, and winning. They deserve to be treated as demi-gods.” they said of our cricketers.

What about the real heroes who fight tooth, blood, and nail for our country in the Himalayan regions at -30 degrees, with no food nor water?

Green is the color of the the army dress. Green symbolizes prosperity. But, for an army man, it symbolizes pain, and loneliness.

Away from their family, fighting for his country, beheaded like goats by the enemy, while we lie on our couches watching the latest serial on TV.

They deserve to be treated as superheroes. The real Gods of the country.

Remember their sacrifice.

This post is for them. You are my greatest inspirations.