“Are you on the side of those who make India hang her head in shame or those who raise her head in pride,” asks Aamir Khan in an ‘Incredible India' advertisement. I am as big a patriot as is the next person, but sometimes, queries buzz about inside my head querulously. Is there any harm in talking about those aspects of our country that could be wished away!
Do you need that big gob of spit that just misses your big toe on your way to an important appointment? Or that red-flecked liquid spewed out so casually in a traffic snarl? What could be worse than that giant phlegm-filled hawk that begins from deep inside a champion ‘spitter', making you wince and shut your eyes and ears in anticipation of the actual event? And those artistic red squiggles on pristine walls, winding staircases, and ironically, below signs which scream “Please do not spit here!”
What about the male members of the human species with undoubtedly canine habits, when they sight a vacant wall, and proceed to let loose in public? The movie Three Idiots has a funny yet effective way of dealing with this, where the culprit receives a gentle jolt, just enough to bring him to his senses, yet does no permanent harm! Pedestrians are often caught between the devil and the deep blue sea; is it safer to sink into excreta, or step off the pavement and be hit by a bus! Tread on mush or turn into mush, as it were!
The tagline of Lays Chips (no one can eat just one!) rings true as one perceives bright wrappers forming part of the vast garbage dump that our roads have turned into. Plastic bottles, cans, fruit peels and groundnut shells turn the picture murkier! On one memorable suburban train ride from Guindy to Chetpet in Chennai, I walked in confidently to a deserted corner in the ladies' compartment, only to be assailed by a stench that made my insides churn. Someone had let her child squat on the floor and left the evidence behind! ‘Incredible India', anyone?
Forget about Incredible India, can we have a Clean India? by DEEPTI MENON: The Hindu
Expanding cities, vanishing space for citizens by T. R. Bhat: The Hindu