A ride from Manipal to Udupi itself feels like stepping out into a different world. Once you exit Manipal, you find India staring back at you. The place gets more dirty, the air somehow feels heavier and more sweat trickles down your back.
India is incredible, there is no denying that. It is a country inhabited by a beautiful people. They are very talented! Most of the doctors who go to the U.S are Indians. Indians are shining in every field and making their country proud. That guy urinating on the sidewalk is an Indian. It is not grey, it is black and white. Even in the most posh places you can find bubblegum stuck to the bottom of a table or just lying on the floor, waiting to accessorize someone’s footwear. The person tossing the banana peel on the sidewalk is also one of the loudest voices against littering. That mountain of garbage on the corner of the street is quite the looker, isn’t it? And doesn’t it smell absolutely lovely? Wonder where it came from? It is right there in your hand. Come on, since when did wrappers become edible?
Okay, you can pick up those witch-brooms and start sweeping the streets though I doubt if that will get you anywhere. You are probably just making a tiny hole in a tank that is constantly being filled. I am not saying don’t sweep. Sweep to your heart’s content. In order to empty the tank, you need to cut it off at the source. And here, the solution is staring right at you. You must have seen many of them on campus. They are big and yellow with green lids. They are eager to be used and are inspired by life. You must have used them if one of them happened to be at the right place at the right time.
Manipal is a relatively clean place thanks to the efforts of the akkas and annas and the university. But it is an island in the middle of a sea of trash which is threatening to submerge it. I don’t think any of you enjoy giving bubblegum a ride under your shoe. So why don’t you throw it somewhere inaccessible to shoes, like maybe the dustbin? Instead of tossing those wrappers around, why not hold it for a few more minutes? The bin is less than twenty meters away.