14 August, 2006


As usual this morning, I left home to work, with Monday blues. Since there was already a backlog of newspapers at home I decided not to buy a newspaper today. I do not know whether anyone of you has observed this. When you wait for a particular bus in a bus stand, it may not come immediately. When you start walking off you will find rows of buses going on the road. The same way, when I buy Newspaper everyday at the station the train comes immediately not allowing me to browse the paper at the station. Today having not bought the paper, I noticed that the next train was only after 20 minutes. Cursing for my decision of not buying the paper, I was looking around for something interesting. On such occasions I miss Madras. You cannot expect anything interesting to happen in London stations when compared to Madras. Listening to two Vegetable vendors or a group of workers talking something interesting about their workplace or young boys talking about their future and etc will be interesting in Madras stations. Somehow I managed to spend my waiting time, by observing the fashions of dresses. Within minutes of getting into train I found a daily ‘Metro’ lying uncared. I picked it up to read and finished reading and passed it to another passenger. While stepping down from the Tube (underground trains are so called here) I noticed a daily newspaper lying on the platform. Cursing the irresponsible citizen about his littering habits, I started walking. Suddenly I felt that it was not right on my part, and walked towards the paper to pick it up. I knew few eyes will be on me when I do it. I was just bothered that someone old should not fall on placing their foot on the paper. When I enquired the station staff, about a closest bin he looked at me strangely. I had to inform him about the way the paper was found on the platform. He laughed and said that I should have been an hour before and showed a heap of papers lying in the corner.

I used to wonder at these people who throw litter. What do they think? Even in place like London, do such people live? I have also heard that Newyork is also dirty in few places. If someone says that you cannot see such things in Singapore again it is because you will be fined. When will people get self discipline in such things?

I do not wonder about my relatives in Nanganallur who asked me throw the litter in front of the house, because there was no bin in their street when people in London are behaving like this inspite of the bins around everywhere.

I do have some wonderful friends who mind about pollution and always carry a bag when we go for hill walks, to throw the litter. They do not allow their kids to throw away even their choclate wraps around in the forests.

Should not people think that it is one of their responsibilities to keep their surroundings neat and clean?

There had been a debate always with the way men’s toilets are maintained at work. In my previous workplace internal mails were sent to all employees (male) to keep the toilets clean.
Yesterday I went to watch a cricket match in the local ground, and found a lot of plastic bottles and crisp wrappers lying around. The guard came in her vehicle and asked the gentlemen around to mind the litter flying around, for which the gentlemen replied that it was her duty to keep the place clean.

I could only wonder at these people’s attitude.


Chakra Sampath said...

Doesn't it show 'people are people', wherever they are.

Balaji S Rajan said...


You are right. 'People are People' wherever they are.

Adaengappa !! said...

Certain communities/neighborhood does maintain the civic standards .
I infer,London,being an ethnic melting pot for people around the world,like NYC ,care little about the environment. And they might be busy in the mornings to find a trash can to throw their papers !

Syam said...

oops u were rite, my bus never comes on time, even it comes after a delay the next one passes mine,the lane which I go always get jammed, if I switch to another lane that lane gets jammed, there is a lot, I have mentioned only a couple here... :-)

and yes I agree with chakra

Thank you for stopping by my blog

Jeevan said...

Care less people. I have seen many people who go on the car used to put the waste paper or anything on the road while traveling. They think will this small paper create pollution? Just throw it and go. If every one think the same and do the same what will happen. I strictly follow to now put waste on our public places. Sutham sooru podum!

Every one tells, if we put liter in the public in Singapore, they will arrest us, is that true?
If Indian govt put a rule like this, hope we can see a clean India.

Wish u a Happy 59th Independence Day dear Friend:)

indianangel said...

Nice post! that shows how mean people can be! I know i too have strewn litter in the streets, but then one day i realized its my own country that im adding more filth. Unless people realize on their own there is no way we can correct this. திருடனாய் திருந்தினால்தான் உண்டு!

Sundar Narayanan said...

i have seen a few guys spit some pan parag outside Bhavikas restaurant here during the Y2K boom.. i was with a friend eating my lunch when we observed this outside.. he saw my shocked face and said "welcome to california machchi !"


visithra said...

I have got this outlook

ill lecture anyone who litters at the beach or forest but not in the city

Reason - the city gets cleaned everyday - no one bothers cleaning the beach or forest

n that bus n paper coincidence - thats irony having a laugh

வேதா said...

i think people lack responsibility. when they think that their houses should be free of litter, couldnt they think the same when it comes to public places. when i was in college i used to put the waste papers, or choclate wrapper or any waste covers which i have used into my bag. even when i travel, i do not throw anything outside the window. i take it back to the nearest dustbin or to my house where i discard those things. u know these habits shuld be followed by the elders, bcos children tend to follow things that are done by their parents. so as citizens we are responsible to teach our future generation to be more disciplined.

Suji said...

Civic sense is something that is sorely missing in ppl. I thought it was only in India. I didn't know that ppl in London r the same. I suppose strictly enforcing fines is the only way. But in India even fines won't work, cos they will never be enforced. :(

Adaengappa !! said...

I've seen people spitting in subway cars,clipping nails in the train,people combing/braiding hair..whatnot..
Adhuvum No.7 train-covers the asian locality..Dont even bother to step onto it ,if you are a cleanliness freak !
Idhu America-va nu enakku doubt varum ! !

Balaji S Rajan said...

Adaengappa - Yes..I agree people are busy. For those who had time to read, will they not have time to keep it with themselves and throw it when they come across a bin. It is their attitude which prevents them from doing so.

Syam - Thanks for your comments. As you said we have many things which goes wrong...and does not happen when we want it to happen.

Jeevan - You are right. In Singapore they penalise people if they throw waste on the road. In olden days in Madras city, Police used to catch people if they urinate on the road. (My dad used to tell this when I was a young boy).

Balaji S Rajan said...

Indianangel - Well said. Unless everyone realizes such things will not change drastically.

Sundar- I hate such people. One day It so happened to go as a pillion rider with a US return guy near Chennai airport. He was riding on the pedestrian path where you have the zebra cross painted on the road. When I questioned him whether he will do such thing in US, he said it is because India, he was doing it.

Visithra - You are right. No one bothers to clean the forest. Once I found a bunch of young boys and girls picking up litter in Besant Nagar beach in Chennai. I went and enquired and was surprised to know that they all study in a nearby school and come regularly on weekends to do this job, since they felt that the Beach was getting polluted. Good citizens.

Veda - Hats off to you. That is what we all do here. Even last evening I found someone having thrown a banana skin on the platform. Imagine the plight of people who stamp it. Keep up your good work.

Suji - It is a shame that such things are happening everywhere. Only the percentage is less. I learned from the locals, that it is more nowadays because of various people coming from various places with their various habits.

Adaengappa - I often get that doubt sometimes in London. Once I had been to Indian embassy. After a great struggle I found the location. After reaching the building, I did not have any clue on which floor was the embassy. I blindly followed the pan parakh marks on the wall and it led me into the right place. LOL.. Also a bad smell welcomed me into the hall.

Ram Viswanathan said...

I read somewhere..

Indians are individually clean but collectively 'unkept'..

I don't particulary ascribe to this this one.. but go with Chakra.. People are generally the same everywhere.. but, what does make the difference is the governance / eco-system / infrastructure.. Which makes it easy for people adhere to certain norms..

What I find in Chennai is that it takes that much 'extra' energy 'not to litter' for example and people just choose the easy way out..

Balaji S Rajan said...


People finding the easy way out in Chennai is as simple as said. True. But things can improve. Let us wait and see.

Ram S Iyer said...

After all man is a social animal

Ram S Iyer said...

Littering is a problem everywhere. I live in Malaysia and I can hear radio commercials telling people to stop littering. It is the people need to change.