12 January 2011

Shubh Aarambh

Have you watched the latest series of Cadbury ads titled ‘Shubh Aarambh’? Each episode is a masterpiece. The content, the central idea, the message, the simplicity of its execution – kudos! I would have loved to write a piece on each of those individual ads. But today, this post is in response to the episode where the ‘cool’ guy goes back to pick up the empty packet he had just thrown on the road.

I remember I once went through this phase of “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. It was my response to the governments’ war-cry to maintain a clean city. I would never throw any empty cans, bottles, wrappers, used papers, packets, sachets etc on the street. I used to take it home or the nearest dustbin & dispose it there. And I would also lecture others about it (costs nothing to lecture others you see!). I had read somewhere that in some countries (particularly Singapore) littering and spitting in public places is a punishable offence. That had got me thinking. Fined for littering? Hmm. The agenda was to not dirty the streets anymore than it already was.

That was also the time when I had the highest concentration of Desh Prem (no … not the Manoj Kumar variety; just a lot more simpler & basic type) in my blood & wanted to do my bit towards a cleaner India. This is the least I could do for my city, state & thereof my country. After all, I know I am no Bhagat Singh.

Years passed. And with it, my “safaai” phase passed off too. The desh prem weaned. The lectures were happily forgotten. I was back to my lazy self.

Last week, when I ate the cut slices of papaya from a piece of paper offered by a roadside vendor & threw the paper into the moving traffic as our car sped along, I immediately felt a tinge of guilt. I thought for a second of another ad where this lady on a bike chases a car & thrusts the empty bottle back at the person who had thrown it out on the road. What if someone does that to my face? Oh my God!

It’s true that Indians clean their houses but dirty their neighborhood. It kills me to say this but I must admit I am guilty too. Plastic covers, packets of chips, chocolate wrappers, empty beer bottles rolled down the sides of deserted roads (the last one – courtesy – Sathya) I am guilty. Now, every time I see the Cadbury ad, it makes me want to revive my personal campaign of the earlier days.

So here I am. This 2011 I will do my bit. I will not litter. It is a promise. I will not give in to the attitude, “I can get away with this”, chaltha hai yaar. Maybe this time it will outlast my temporary craze & actually become a habit. Hope this habit dies hard. I will remind myself that I may be fined. Come to think of it, maybe THAT’S what we need – imposition of a hefty fine for littering. The way the helmet rule is grudgingly but diligently adhered to now in Bangalore, maybe a fine in this case would awaken the collective consciousness of people. Hope Tan & her generation grow up to break this ‘typically Indian’ habit of littering around just like the guy in the Cadbury ad. All it takes is a resolve. I resolve not to litter.


  1. I loved the Ad as well.Littering is bad alright but I have too changed this habit of mine.I dont litter at all.I carry a spare plastic waste bag to dispose any crap after a picnic or an outing.Spitting used to be fined here before but now its like no one cares.I hate people who spit and its usually men here and the sad thing is..our people are the ones who spit everywhere..the red kind or the snort kind.A turn off indeed.

  2. I do hate littering. But in theater after eating snacks cover and cool drink glass wanted to throw in dustbin in Thribhuvan after the movie so carried it. In the crowd, they were staring and my friends laughing at me. Some of the crowd hesitant towards me, since I was carrying it. Troubled the entire crowd, but could not find the dustbin on the way to exit. Finally, have to come out search for dustbin and throw. If this situation happens to ordinary man, next time he won’t think of “do not litter”. After that incident my attempt to find dustbin immediate and otherwise throw it on road. Something’s which cannot be carried for long time. So it has reduced to 50%. But at least ticket, chocolate wrapper, like that which can be accommodated will carry home and throw it in home dustbin. But Government says do not litter, but garbage disposal vehicle does not come for a week. Sometimes feel confused..!!!

  3. yes it IS very difficult in India. with no dustbins to throw things into, we cant really carry everything home. no wonder, littering is not punishable in our country.

  4. Cleanliness should be part of our life and teachings imparted to youngsters from their early age. This feeling should come from our heart.

  5. @Ayyangar: true. only then it will b habit that will not die

  6. In the past 45 mins, I read all ur posts in 2011... Very interesting... Wanna read the 2010 lot later too... But cant find the "Follow this blog" widget!!! Help me!!! Mail me or find me on indiblogger plz...

    Keep writing... I luv it... Feels lik i already know a lot bout ur husband and little tanvi... :)

  7. Ok, found the follow button as soon as I posted the above comment... Anyhow... Keep posting... :)

  8. @NNNiiiXXX: whats with this unusual name?

    thank u for your wonderful comments. i am both utterly surprised and totally pleased that you read all the 2011 posts.

    why happy? that's obvious.
    why surprised? coz no one spends so much time reading another blog. most ppl usually read one post (max 2), put a comment n go. u read all of one year n want to read further?? !!!

    THANK YOU - what else can i say ?

  9. Hehe! The name is Nikhil...

    Ur writing style is really different... And the topics u choose r really interesting... couldnt resist readin the whole thing... :)

  10. P.S. Sumthin is wrong with ur "followers" widget though... Keeps disappearing... :(

  11. @Nikhil: :)) pls don't resist :))

    abt d widget, let it disappear (hav no idea y it does do dat, though)... u r already in d followers list. so d blog shud show up in ur dashboard.

  12. Hope you stuck to the resolve all through 2011 and are hopefully continuing with it !

    1. yes, i did and still do though at times it is quite a thing