I am very sure that everyone has sulked at the very sight of over flowing garbage bins or sewers in our own country. What makes us do that? Most of us might just blame the government or the local municipal authorities and cover our faces with scarves and hand kerchiefs and walk away. Have we ever blamed ourselves for such gross things? Have we ever gone up to the old man who throws trash into the bin to actually put it into the large bins placed at almost every corner of the streets? If you want something to change, do we stand up to be the change?

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To look presentable and decent in a public place is a great. And to make a public place look nice is even better. And it is not a thing that can be inculcated overnight. You have to be taught to look neat and clean right from your kinder garden or if possible, the coaching can start even before that. Most of us would have been punished by our kinder garden teachers for not bringing spoons or a towel for spreading it on the table during lunch. Why did they do that? Did they just randomly go around shouting and scolding? They just took scolding as a tool to teach us that we have to eat food without spilling it all over our clothes and to maintain basic hygiene. Then, after all the castigation at school, our mothers at home make it a point to teach us cleanliness at every instant they got. They took every small thing as an example to teach us to make ourselves and our surrounding clean.

But, after all the lessons taught, is the moral learnt? I still see a lot of men crushing cigarettes on the ground. You might have seen a lot of men and women spitting pan on the walls and streets; and worse out of the bus windows (may be this is why you need to wear helmets). Yet, we don’t fail to teach the kids “bits of paper…”

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I asked one of my friends who threw a paper cup on the ground, why she had to litter the place. All she had to tell me was “its bio-degradable”. Yes it is bio-degradable; so are dead animals. Why don’t you keep them in your garden till they completely decompose?  I agree it’s so much better than throwing plastics and cigars. But, when you start littering the place with paper cups, someone sees you and throws plastic cups. Another one follows will a chocolate wrapper. It goes on.

You may think that nothing is going to change just because you stop being unclean and you stop littering. It definitely makes a change. You stare at someone who spits pan and mostly the result is that he doesn’t spit it there but goes and spits it somewhere else. Still, you instigated a change. You might have made him think. You can initiate by cleaning up the litter as well.

All of us might have seen campaigns or college students who form a group to clean a park or beaches or any public place. They are all initiatives taken by our generation to keep and maintain the serenity of our environment. Such gatherings and meetings bring a sense of oneness and togetherness amongst us. We do feel proud when our mothers dress up neatly and look great at an event. A similar logic applies. You make your mother Earth look prettier and healthier and restore all the beauty she had once upon a time. Make it a point to spend at least one weekend in a month to beautify your surroundings.

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If cleanliness is next to godliness, we are all living with demons and evil spirits. We need to start moving away from them slowly. When I say slowly, I mean from our own body. Take one step at a time. I have a few boys and girls in my class who think it’s a waste of time and energy to bathe daily. Yes, I gave a similar “OMG” reaction just as you did now. But, I thought I could ask them to change. I did fail with a few but my “clean-o-therapy” did work out with the rest. After your own self, move on to your house. I know our mothers are experts in cleaning the litter we throw. But try not to litter your own house. Then move on to your locality. As said earlier, join hands with friends and try to make a place look clean. You may be treated with respect and salutes from the next day.

I might have sounded too childish all along when I kept insisting on the point that you shouldn’t litter and you should keep your place clean. But, trust me, when you bring up that change in yourself, it’s a really good feeling. Try it once. Quit it if you don’t like it. I don’t say “quit” that easily. And when I say it, I am sure you won’t want to quit. Being clean is a tradition. Be it any religion or caste or country, it has been there in some manuscript or any holy book. For example, there are verses in the Holy Quran which reflect the importance of cleanliness where it says, “Truly Allah loves those who keep themselves clean”. According to Hinduism, cleanliness is not actually godliness; it’s a part of godliness. So, why quit the age old practice of being clean and move away from our customs?

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