Saturday, March 23, 2013

Who is Guilty? The Woman, the Driver, or the Boy?

A beautiful woman – in her 20s, adorned with adequate jewelry perfectly matching her gracious sari – was talking to her friends in a local train. She seemed to be highly educated. While picking the last piece of the potato chips from the packet she was holding in her left hand, she mentioned that her house was getting renovated for Diwali (the festival of lights) celebrations. At the last word of her statement, she threw the wrapper out of the train through the window.

An auto-rickshaw driver asked my co-passenger to not to leave the biscuit wrappers inside the rickshaw. The passenger put the wrapper in his bag with an intention to throw it into a dustbin when he gets down. The driver then asked me whether I wanted to get down at the next stop and then he spit the betel nut, which he was chewing for a long time, to his right on the road.

On the bus stop, an educated boy asked me when the bus was supposed to arrive. He had his face neatly shaved and had also applied some perfume. I told him that even I was waiting for the bus for last half an hour. In disappointment, he casually kicked one empty soft drink can that had fallen out of the nearby dustbin. The can ended up finding itself on the middle of the otherwise spotless road.

Many-a-times, it seems we live in a time of selfishness when we care very much about our own impression but not that of the society, when anything told to us about the world outside that of ourselves merely seems cacophony to us. That might be the reason why the woman didn’t want the entire city but only her house to be clean for the festival, the auto-rickshaw driver didn’t want the roads to be as clean as his own vehicle, and the handsome, presentable boy didn’t want the road to look as good and presentable as he looked.

Cursing these three people while walking home, I started to search for a chocolate in my pocket. Luckily, I found one, which I unwrapped and put in my mouth. My eyes were wandering to find a dustbin where I can put the wrapper. I didn’t find any in the vicinity. Hence, I started walking while holding the wrapper in my hand with an intention to throw it wherever I find a dustbin. I had already walked for 200 meters and hadn’t found a single dustbin on the road though the road was full of garbage lying here and there. Suddenly, my hand hit my body and the wrapper I was holding fell down on the road. Did I consider picking it up again? No. How does it matter? One more wrapper on the ugly road wouldn’t make a difference to its appearance, I thought. And then, I moved on.

As I reached home, I realized that those three individuals were not at fault completely. They were merely reacting naturally to the conditions they were put into. The woman didn’t find a single dustbin in the train, the auto-rickshaw driver found the road worth spitting, and the boy thought the road would be a better place for the can than where he was standing. Everything in its present shape or condition is prepared to face its own destiny. Even a street dog looks for a pole to address the nature’s call. People who spit on the dirty roads don’t behave in the same way with the posh malls they visit. Therefore, it is time to desperately demand for infrastructure that deserve better behavior from the society; at the same time let’s encourage the society to respect whatever the little we have and not to make it uglier. And as they say, we need to be the change we want to see in the world. 

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