Monday, August 31, 2009

Let's make India really 'Great'

I guess all you people reading this post might find it a little gross but it's a sincere effort on my part to put forward the naked reality.

On Friday, I finished my work at office and got down to the parking lot to get my car. I paid the parking manager and was about to enter my car. To my astonishment, I found one elderly person sitting down and peeing just behind my car. He just coolly finished his ordeal and left as if nothing really happened. When I approached the parking manager, he informed me that this is a daily routine since the space behind the cars serves as a 'private' area for people to pee and nobody listens to him when he asks them not to pee. At that moment, I thought this country has really gone to the dogs.

This space behind the parked cars has become one amongst the many shady nooks and corners in this country that many people use for letting off their liquids and in many cases their solids as well. Talking about corners, any place that has 2 walls meeting each other in a right angle, may it be on footpaths, public places, inside old apartment buildings, et al, is a potential pee-hole in this country.

As regards the ‘solids’, people shit on roads, railway tracks, playgrounds, gardens and on every part of vacant land available to them. If you are travelling in a Mumbai local train in the morning, it’s a common thing to see people shitting on the tracks - the only difference being that women shitting on the tracks stand up every time a train passes by whereas the men prefer to stay in a sitting pose even if the train halts at a signal right in front of them. The leading online gaming website,, has even developed a game named Kaka Killer where one has to shoot people shitting on the railway tracks.

I used to think that one of the reasons for people to do such awful acts was the lack of ample public toilets until I saw a person peeing right next to a public toilet, again at a corner, even when the public toilet was unoccupied. Public toilets are instead used by advertisers to promote their brands through billboards placed on the outside walls of the toilet.

Having said this, the lack of ample public toilets is definitely a problem.  Once I had gone to Bangalore on an official trip and had taken an auto rickshaw ride from the airport to my hotel. In between the journey, I had an urgent need to take a leak and was desperately trying to find a public toilet on the way for a long time. The rickshaw driver even ‘advised’ me to use any ‘corner’ in the city promptly stating that such things shouldn’t be delayed. Finally, I had to get down and request a hotel manager to use their toilet. He allowed me since I was well-dressed and was carrying a laptop. Now imagine if a not-so-well-dressed guy would have requested the same manager. The manager wouldn’t have allowed him leaving him with no other choice than to take the rickshaw driver’s advice. I don’t even want to imagine a lady going through such a nightmare.

Another reason for people to do such awful acts, that I used to think of, was the high illiteracy rate in India until I saw a well-educated man bringing his car to a halt and peeing on the footpath. This has just become the common habit now whether the public toilets are present or not.

The ever-growing population of this country is the main culprit responsible for such behavior and many other sick things people do over here. The current population of India is 1.17 billion (estimate for July 2009)  which is one sixth of the entire world population. It’s practically impossible for the government to look after so many people. Moreover, the corrupt politicians in this country are just bothered about filling up their pockets rather than developing the country. As a result, 22% of the population (2006 estimate) lives below the poverty line. Poverty leads to illiteracy. 34% of the population in India is illiterate. Illiteracy ultimately leads to lack of good habits and mannerism. These traits then even rub off on literate people as well. This is true in the case of all populous developing nations across the world. Countries with lesser population don’t face these problems.

Another menace is people spitting, practically everywhere, the illiterate and literates alike. The primary reason for this menace is the consumption of ‘Gutkha’ – a blend of betel leaf and tobacco, on a large scale. Gutkha is very addictive, like cigarettes. People who chew Gutkha have to spit constantly because of the tobacco content inside. This has led to a mass epidemic of people spitting in all possible places. People spit on the roads, footpaths, bases of street lamps, road dividers – they don’t even leave the plants planted on the dividers. If a local train in Mumbai halts at a station, one can see the ground and railings opposite to the side of the platform, full of Gutkha stains. People even spit in the ‘corners’ of an apartment staircase, even in lifts. Many apartments have gone to the extent of sadly putting up images of Gods and Goddesses in every staircase corner in order to discourage people from spitting. Many a times, you will even see car drivers opening the doors partly and spitting on the roads. The best spitting scene I have ever seen was when a person spat from the window of a moving bus, bang on the shirt of a biker riding beside the bus. The biker stopped his bike in front of the bus, got inside the bus and whacked the hell out of the guy. It’s another fact that eating Gutkha also causes cancer and other diseases. Despite this, Gutkha companies are allowed to advertise freely and they make a fortune in this country.

Then we have people throwing garbage out of buses, trains, cars. I have also seen many literate people lower their car window glass and throw empty packets of chips on the road. The same act is carried out by kids travelling in school buses. The parents of these kids themselves might be setting up the precedence, so why shouldn’t the kids follow suit? Even the inside of the trains are not spared. Once I was travelling from Chennai to Tirupati by train. When I boarded the train, the train compartments were clean enough. But slowly they started getting littered with peanut shells and by the time I reached Tirupati the entire compartment floor was full of peanut shells. There’s another incident I would like to cite here. I was travelling from Chennai to Mumbai in a train. I have a habit of collecting all garbage in a bag and disposing it off in a dustbin at the next station. An elderly gentleman found this behaviour very awkward and couldn’t resist telling me that what’s the need of doing so when you have the biggest dustbin available right outside the moving train?! Sorry to say, but such is the mentality of many people in this country.

Also, there are other incidents where some people pick their noses and smear the bus/train seat with the treasure they dig out. Many people flush garbage, condoms, food, clothes down the drain resulting in choking up of drainage pipes. Many people don’t wash their hands after peeing and then promptly shake hands with other people.

I can go on and on about such incidents. But there are a couple of points that I am trying to put forward through this post.

I didn’t write this post to degrade my country or my fellow countrymen. It’s my genuine attempt to highlight the reality and provide food for thought to those reading this post for acting to make this country a better place to live for us and our upcoming generations. I have visited several developed countries and in my heart I wish that our country was neat and clean like these countries and our people more cultured and well mannered. And this is something we can definitely achieve if we put in an effort. We simply need to treat our public places like our own home and take their proper care. This might sound silly, but taking the following oaths will just be the right start:
1. I will never ever pee or shit in a public place; I am not a dog, I am a human and I will always use the toilet for these purposes
2. I will never ever spit in public places
3. I will never ever litter public places; I will always use the dustbins

Please feel free to contribute with your views, opinions on this post and with ideas that will really make us proudly say ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ (My India is Great)!


  1. Anonymous3:22 pm

    After reading ur article, m really feel like peeing . . . wait a min, let me pee & come . . . suuuuu suuuuuuuuuu suuuuuuuuuu . . . . .

    M back
    What u said is really truth. Let check out some more naked reality. India have 72.2% people living in rural area and 28.8% living in city. So people living in rural area is more than people living in city. U must have gone to your village an in village we don’t have proper toilet. We go to discard our liquid & solid in field or near by forest or open space. People living near the sea shore go to shore to dump there solids, and I even bet u & people reading this post must have done once dumping their solids in field or forest or shore & liquid were ever we pleased. Forget about 72.2% people living in rural area as they do it daily. 28.8% people living in city must have done minimum once.
    As it is said “Good things is hard to learn & Bad things are never forgotten”
    The people u see near the track & road side are the people living in slums who had come from rural area. So its very hard for them to adjust. Like wise we are so used to Indian Sitting toilets that we feel hard to use Western Sitting Toilets. Literate people letting off their liquid at every corner as its hard to forget as I have told earlier “Bad Things are hard to forget” There is one more saying “Foreign me police pakudtha hai our India me kudh ko pakudna pudtha hai”
    The day jub India me bhi police pakudna chalu karega thabh you wont see any people letting off their liquid or spitting at any corner.
    In Singapore they have very strong rules about peeing, littering & spiting and in Singapore everybody follows the rules. In India we don’t have strong rules like Singapore. So people take advantage. As I have told earlier “Bad Things are hard to forget”
    The best way to stop this is :
    1. Before leaving your house or your work place or Hotel or place you are visiting, empty your liquid & solid and leave.
    2. Before leaving your house or your work place or Hotel or place you are visiting, have enough food to fill your stomach so that you don’t have to purchase food from out side & litter every were. Try not to buy food from out side.
    3. Try to eat Gutka or betel leaf before leaving your house or your work place or Hotel or place you are visiting so you don’t have to spit out side.

  2. Oh please figure out a way of publishing this through some newspaper!! Please!

  3. Hey Prajakta, thank you for your comment. I appreciate that you feel this is newspaper material but have my own doubts about it getting published since the content is a bit gross.