Like most of you, I am a movie buff. The new wave cinema is more refreshing for me than the usual dose of hero fighting 20 men. Few weeks back, I was watching Jolly LLB and I couldn't sleep properly for many days. There is a scene in the movie that moved me. Here's a snippet for those who haven't seen it…
Arshad Warsi is about to pee on the roadside.
A homeless man comes with his family
and politely asks him to move few steps away to pee.
He turns back and watches the family lay their sheets.
He realizes his mistake and ponders over the bigger problem.
Men urinating in public places is a common sight in India but I wept after watching it. More than the fact that I was moved, I knew I had done so much wrong in my life. I have littered the roads, thinking I was throwing a bus ticket or a toffee wrapper and what bad it could possibly do to the dirtiest roads of India. But, after watching that scene, I felt I threw trash in someone's bedroom. In India we don't just drive on roads. We set pandals, we have weddings, we eat and unfortunately, many live on roads. Do we spit or pee in a place where we eat or sleep?
There are 78 million homeless people in India. According to CRY, there were 11 million homeless children sleeping on the streets in 2006. And the situation is getting worse day by day. While you were putting soft toys on your daughter's bed, someone opened a car window and threw an emptied beer bottle on the street, sorry, on a kid's bed. Can you bear this thought? I can't. We were taught not to litter, as cleanliness is next to godliness but this scene has given me a different and sad perspective to the whole situation. Road is not a trash can, for millions it's their bedroom.
Some will say that there are shelter homes run by government but when you ask homeless people, they prefer sleeping on roadside. Most of the shelter homes are infected by diseases and are poorly managed. Also, homeless people don't have enough money to travel from their place of work to shelter homes every night. The situation is even worse in big cities as 40% of the homeless people are from metros.
When as a kid I used to leave food on my plate, my father always said, 'there are millions of children who don't get food and you are wasting it…' I guess, that was the best trick he had to teach me the value of food. Sometimes, a different perspective works better that the usual approach. What all the moral lessons couldn't imbibe, a movie scene did in less than a minute. I saw and I learnt one of the most important lessons.
78 million homeless people in India
11 million children living on streets
40% homeless people are from urban areas
Think before Peeing/Spitting/Littering the roads
I bet, most of us do more than driving on roads. So, lets practice 'Cleanliness is next to godliness', outside our homes, where millions of Indians live.
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