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Sunday, December 11, 2011


Dear friends, excuse me if I lay bare certain facts. It so happened that we were to go to Delhi and got our seats reserved online in the morning train from Patiala. On the appointed day we readied to go to the railway station and a friend was waiting to drop us there. Before locking the house dear hubby wanted to make sure that the train was on time and switched on the Internet. To our disbelief the site showed the train as ‘cancelled.’ One or two frantic telephone calls and it got confirmed that it was actually cancelled. No clue why?

The alternative was to take the available bus. Our friend dropped us at the bus stop in the drizzling rain (the first winter rain, a boon for fledging wheat crop). But it was a virtual nightmare for us. Slush, slush and more slush. Every step was an effort. I wonder how people travel during rains. The bus stop was crowded (even at that hour) and mounds of garbage were spotted every where. Shopkeepers, fruit sellers, vendors and traveling public contribute equally to the mess. It smells horribly of decayed eatables and urine- yes urine - and all along the walls men urinate shamelessly and the smell wafts in the air.

We settled for an ordinary bus which was fully packed. All the people who were to go by train (the railway station is close by) rushed to board buses. Heaved a sigh, when the bus started and I could look right and left unobstructed being perched high above. I missed this sight for many years and the experience proved quite revealing about certain glaring realities of our lives.

The appalling scenario was, all pervading filth and littered garbage along the roads and in front of the shops which line the major part of the way. The shop owners clean the interiors but have no care about their immediate surroundings. Shop fronts are not even paved. Nauseating dirty wetness around tea shops and eating joints abound. Stray cattle, dogs and pigs roam freely causing scare. Only a few pockets comprising good hotels and government establishments, present a semblance of cleanliness. Otherwise the scene which catches your attention is heaps of waste here, there and everywhere. MCs of the respective cities seem to be dwelling in ivory towers somewhere.

Actually it mirrors our national character. The way we throw peels, plastic bottles, shells, snack containers and pouches out of the running cars and buses, unmindful of our civic duties, tell a sordid tale.

The crux of the problem, however, is absence of accountability and effective deterrents. The brashness of our multitudes is alarming. Masses are aware of their rights but ignore their responsibilities. Tolerance has reached nether levels. There is arson and destruction of nation’s wealth at the drop of a hat.

Our country is facing serious social unrest. The stage of our falling into the abyss of frustrations is imminent. What we need is drastic overhauling of our operational mechanisms. Authorities alone cannot achieve this gargantuan task. All of us should lend a helping hand to shake the sinking administrative machinery. Let’s step out of our safe and glassy cocoons and help frame policies to take up remedial measures at war footing.

There is no dearth of prudent and committed bureaucrats and corporate titans who could be requested to help out. The industry giants who made possible high economic growth and overall prosperity would surely invent methods to save India from becoming a nation of garbage. If this single job is done successfully, we can save our citizenry from contracting deadly diseases. It would ease our overburdened health services and many man days would be saved.

Another burning topic which continues to be sidetracked is our bourgeoning population. Anybody who loves his country will aver that without population control all our efforts for all round betterment will remain a pipe dream. The political class of our country has to rise above vote bank considerations and put in place measures to deal with the issue. If there is genuineness in its formulations nobody is going to oppose it. No sacrifice is big enough for the sake of the country.

A small hoarding at a wine shop in Panipat " Chield beer served here."


  1. Why are you apologitic Uppalji? What you have said is very much a reality.

    Who cares, if garbage is near the bus stop? who cares if the streets overflow with filth?
    The sanitation inspectors and their bosses are busy collecting their salaries and what else? they celebrate their festivals and marriages with pomp and many citizens of the locality go there and congratulate them. Why would they do their work? so long as they earn money and enjoy and show -off, and the others appreciate them for that show-off, we will be LIKE this only!

    I want to share with you , my own experiences , in this part of India. we had decided that our colony, households have to seggregate organic and plastc wastes. We were given two baskets of different color, two years back. Till date the Cantonment Board has not decided what to do with them and how to channalise the garbage.
    The baskets have long gone in cold storage. The garbage is still collected by hand by the trash collector. And he has such an attitude. He does note even do the work daily. Once in a while he will come ,and yell, if the garbage is little bigger!!! Some of the residents do not want to pay him that 50 rupees. They simply dump it on the road in front of other houses.( these are people with silk sarees and diamond earrings).

    It is a national sentiment, " why should we bother?" " let us keep our house clean and empty trash on the road".

    So forever India will shine.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your comments and your endorsements of the views expressed.We've the same mentality everywhere in India.The trash collectors and maids behave so rudely and unabashedly that one has to remain mum to avoid their answering back. you are absolutely right about the fickleness of the diamond wearing ladies.One can hardly make conversations with such noveau rich women.Actually we have to become more thick skinned to confront the relevant authorities to do the needful.Though i know these activities are beyond us at this stage of oue lives.Only hope remains.Bye and take care.

  3. I am an armchair activist, Uppalji. In my lane I am known for being an activist, who amuses the road sweepers, neighbours who cut down trees, and who create nuisance on our Cul-de-sac. My husband will be hushing me up most of the time. But when he needs strong words to be spoken he will call me :-).

    In a way being a senor citizen helps us to say what we think right, without fear of creating a image.:-)

    So we will march ahead!.

  4. Hi Pattu,thanks for your uplifting comments.I'm so glad that you're a sort of an activist in your locality and people listen to you.So sweet of your husband to ackowledge your strengths.This role brings its own rewards in the shape of some change in the mindset of people around.Bravo!! Keep it up.:)
    Bye the way i feel a lot encouraged to day after reading your response.