Un-Welcome back to Un-Swachh Mysuru !
Columns, Over A Cup of Evening Tea

Un-Welcome back to Un-Swachh Mysuru !

By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

The rather amusing but certainly shameful drama of decking up Mysuru to qualify for the top place among the cleanest cities of the country has just ended. And, it has ended so dramatically too — all the garbage heaps at our street corners are steadily and happily growing back to their original dimensions, all the roadside stalls and pavement vendors that had vanished overnight are back once again in their usual but un-rightful places where they can not only successfully ply their trades but also successfully impede the free movement of people and their vehicles.

Actually I realised that the Swachh Mysuru movement had taken off when I went looking for my fruit vendor and found him missing from his usual place on three consecutive days. This was something that would never happen, come rain or shine. That was how permanently his cart was welded to his preferred place despite having four wheels !

All the roadside eateries that had simply vanished with a wave of the Policeman’s baton three weeks ago have now returned to the places from where they used to assuage the hunger of road-users which once included the poorest of the poor but which now also include  the richest of the rich. Yes, the latter too no longer feel shy of being seen near roadside eateries some of which are reputed to be capable of putting the best high-end restaurants to shame when it comes to taste. That is why you find high-end Mercs, BMWs and Audis regularly parked at our so-called ‘food streets’ these days.

It is a different matter that when people rave of what roadside food can do their taste buds they always make it a point to remain mum on what they observe by way of hygiene and cleanliness. These two issues therefore never get to be discussed at the same time. This tact is also one of the essential tenets of the art of fine dining !

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But you should listen or rather eavesdrop on such conversations. You’ll find people literally slurping and drooling and making all kinds of funny sounds as they talk of what they had eaten the previous week ! That is how lasting the effect of good food is!

And, that is why it is very rightly said that an army marches on its stomach and that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That also explains why all countries across the world make sure that their soldiers are always fed the most sumptuous food and drink too, at least during peace time. And, when you look back, that also explains why women who cook very well usually do very well in their married lives !

Incidentally, a huge roadside hoarding somewhere between Bengaluru and Maddur, promoting the culinary delights that can be had at a restaurant thereabouts says: “Good Food is Good Mood” which I feel is the absolute truth although I am not much of a foodie, at least these days ! I think one of the most disappointing experiences is when you go to a much hyped restaurant expecting very good food and find the fare served to you there way off the mark. Although I am speaking for myself when I say this, I’m very sure that most people who enjoy eating out will agree with me.

Now, bringing you all back to Namma Mysuru from my food fantasies, we all saw how our civic authorities promoted the virtues of cleanliness which almost re-wrote the axiom and put Godliness in the second place! We were all told to keep the surroundings of our homes clean with perfect waste segregation that would pass the inspection of the eagle-eyed teams that would come visiting, God knows from where. We also saw teams of volunteers wearing smart, specially logoed T-Shirts and matching caps, sweeping the forecourt of our Palace and even the streets so that our newspapers and TV screens could spread the news of what we were doing, far and wide.

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All the rank and file of our Corporation employees and hastily roped in extra contract workers too were deputed to places like temples, mosques and churches where people congregated, to get citizens to send messages from their mobile phones that their city was the cleanest and best maintained. But frankly speaking, I never got to understand what this part of the exercise was all about.

I only go to know of it when I overheard our maid telling my wife that she was late one particular day because she had to participate in this very important voting exercise. I also felt a little sheepish when she expressed surprise that we had not been invited to do the honours that she had the privilege of doing !

I suddenly found that the roads of our area which had not seen a broom even once after our Dasara were being swept by platoons of workers walking behind swanky yellow and green tippers into which they were dumping basketfuls of garbage! I do not know how the word got around but a team of Corporation officials even visited my house to see how my home composting unit was doing. They implored me to stand beside it for a photograph but I very politely excused myself saying that I was not dressed smartly enough that day! But I felt very happy when they told me that I was being a model citizen and that they would urge other citizens to follow my example and also bring the Inspectors to my house to see my project. But alas! That did not happen and that is why perhaps Mysuru missed the first place and could make it only to the third place this year!

Looking back a little sadly at the events of the past few weeks, I wonder why our civic officials have to stage this strange and ironic drama year after year just for an award when they have no moral commitment to keep our fast-growing city reasonably clean and our roads free from obstacles and impediments that make our lives miserable. Cleanliness and orderliness too have to be a simple, year-long way of life rather than just a two- week-long drama !

 e-mail: [email protected]

March 8, 2019

11 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Un-Welcome back to Un-Swachh Mysuru !”

  1. Swamy says:

    Haha cleanliness drive is same as kids writing big exam. They play all year and prepare for 2weeks before the exams.

  2. Hanuman says:

    For Heaven’s sake stop ranting about Swachh in a massively populated country like India, full of shanty towns, free flowing sewer into the streets ,even into holy Ganges, and all open spaces are used as toilets. This situation is the main reason that tourists outside India from the West avoid India. They do not want to catch diseases and certainly do not want to be overrun by stray dogs with their bites certain to inflict rabies on these victims. In summary, India is an unhygienic hell hole , caused by teeming billions of people.

    • swamy says:

      Hanuman, you are right that cleanliness is not practiced in India. But hell hole is a tall world. Indians seem to be of adjustment, chalta hai nature. They don’t mind walking or living in a garbage stricken roads, while closing their nostrils. That attitude is like it is not my problem. Another aspect missing is volunteering. I read a story here in Star of Mysore, an Israel lady was picking up trash near Kukkarahalli lake. Only upon seeing few people joined her. Schools and colleges should teach shramadaan and have day in a month dedicated to shramadaan which involves cleaning the roads, rivers, and open spaces, educating public about garbage, open defacation, recycling. Biggest problem in India is not self serving, looking upon to government for everything. Government can do only few things, but every day practice comes from people. If people cannot keep their streets, neighborhood clean, how can government help?

  3. Pissed Off says:

    @hanuman, you are also part of the hell hole! AH!!!!

  4. Just Saying says:

    HOW CAN YOU EXPECT A COUNTRY TO PROGRESS WHERE PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING TO PROVE THEMSELVES AS ‘Backwards’!!

  5. Pissed Off says:

    @hanuman, where do you live? Don’t tell me you live in the west, where you are a “wog”. Enjoy! You are real POS!

  6. Mohammed says:

    Hanuman your place of stay is anuman? Are you a self loathing Indian?

  7. @Hanuman, I am happy that you are fortunate enough to escape from the hell hole. Having said that, I hope you have the fortitude to clarify a few things for me.

    Your parents, I am assuming you have parents, siblings, grand parents, and relatives, do they all still live in the hell hole or did you take them with you? Did your parents pay for your education or your benefactors in the west? Did you study in the hell hole country? If so, which hell hole University did you graduate from? If you are married, is your wife also from the hell hole country?

    I look forward to your reply.

  8. swamy says:

    Hanuman, you are right that cleanliness is not practiced in India. But hell hole is a tall world. Indians seem to be of adjustment, chalta hai nature. They don’t mind walking or living in a garbage stricken roads, while closing their nostrils. That attitude is like it is not my problem. Another aspect missing is volunteering. I read a story here in Star of Mysore, an Israel lady was picking up trash near Kukkarahalli lake. Only upon seeing few people joined her. Schools and colleges should teach shramadaan and have day in a month dedicated to shramadaan which involves cleaning the roads, rivers, and open spaces, educating public about garbage, open defacation, recycling. Biggest problem in India is not self serving, looking upon to government for everything. Government can do only few things, but every day practice comes from people. If people cannot keep their streets, neighborhood clean, how can government help?

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