Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Art of Littering

I have been observing for quite a few years how Indians have evolved in their taste for fashion, cuisines and many things else. But one trait refuses to leave the desi descendents of all generations - their consistent urge to litter. Most people I know have assumed this traditional duty with great zeal and fervour. I have some samples of this "Great Indian Litterbug" from first hand experience.

Last week at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon holding area, while I stood in a queue longer than the Great Wall of China as I waited my turn to relieve myself before my half marathon, a frustrated girl declared, "Let's just pee outside! It's pretty dark anyway". And off went a dozen girls from elite families, into a nondescript clearing behind the canvas covering, to squat and perhaps make the soil a little more fertile for the weeds to thrive. "It's fun and thrilling!" declared a girl after her law loo-break.

"I'll pee from the Bandra-Worli Sea Link", declared a proud pro-runner as he jogged beside me with all his enthusiasm. I knew then that the urge to pee in public did not have much to do with gender. In this case, I'd say men and women are like two pees peas in a pod. And their motto is - "Urine where you reign".

Biological urges aside, we love to get the maximum bang for the buck we pay our cleaners and housemaids. This is why we refuse to discard any waste in the trash bin in our room. "The bai will pick it up", we reason. The bai is another aspirational individual who will not touch your litter without expressly being asked to. And thus, the two-week old coffee stain on the mug gathers dust on your study table. We decide in the third week to place the cup on the floor. There, cat-hair and pigeon feather stick to the old stains. We now place it in the balcony for the rain-gods to wash off the stains. "But it's only winter!" we realize a little late. Frustrated with our foolhardiness, we kick the mug out of the balcony, and "crash"!!! The mug dents the roof of the car that breaks its fall.

We suddenly recall our favourite sport of defenestration! We get our organic waste basket out and start pouring all the putrid contents on to the already rotting sidewalk. But for pan-masala, I'd never have known the uses of keeping a red tongue and a redder face. Just imagine, you can paint the walls just by spitting! No need to buy spray-cans for difficult graffiti. Saliva is organic and easily biodegradable! :-) You can create an unusual piss piece of art this way!

So friends,  littering is not a vice, it's a form of art that requires long hours and plenty of practice. After all, we're not all Jack from Titanic. Spitting will take us some time. But there's huge investment potential in filth. It is yet to become a spit-bubble. You can still attend the Litterfest if you have the spirit (and the sputum)! ;-)

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