Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Cleanliness Confidence

Indian railway stations have huge billboards declaring in large letters: CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS. The walls are also painted with the message but you can’t see them. They are covered with layers of paan peek over the years.

There are tracks close to the platform; you can’t see them because they are covered in human excrement.

The Indian life revolves around the belief in god (or Gods) and that makes them so obsessed with cleanliness, that they are cleaning their bowels whenever and wherever they want. The station happens to be there. They clean their houses and throw the garbage on the road. Keep yourself clean, surroundings can clean themselves.

They also sneer at anyone who keeps dirty. “People in the West don’t shower. They use deodorant. Their streets are clean but not their houses,” is what my Gurukul friend Sanjay keeps telling me.

But this news, reported by Reuters, proves people there can go as far as getting arrested for their need to shower.

German police detained a 36-year-old man for trying to shower naked in a car wash in the southern town of Fuerth. “He stripped off and said he wanted to take a shower, but couldn't start the machine,” a police spokesman said. “It wasn’t a great idea. He could have been coated in car wax, scalded by hot water or rubbed raw by brushes.”

Poor guy. His crime wasn’t indecency, but the attempt to bathe in a car wash. You go to a car wash to wash your car and not yourself.

Tell that to our politicians. Last night after nearly 48 hours of washing dirty linens on Doordarshan, they ended up stinking more than ever.

Somebody tell them election campaigns aren’t organised at Parliament, which is meant for better things like walkouts and adjournments.

The Opposition led by Congress’ Sonia Gandhi moved a no-confidence motion against the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the debate ended up in loose emotions and stupid tu-tu-main-main.

The Opposition and the ruling coalition stripped each other naked and tried to shower in a place meant to wash cars. The ruling party retains the confidence.

The Congress later said it didn’t want to bring down the government. It just wanted to raise people’s issues.

Waah! It’s like Tom pulls the trigger on Dick and the bullet misses the latter by 126 inches. Then Tom tells Harry he didn’t want to kill Dick, he just wanted to point out Dick’s wife doesn’t mow the lawn as often as she should.

If you want to raise people’s issue, Parliament is made for it. Moving a no-confidence motion to raise public issues is like using grenades in Diwali when all you need is crackers.

By the way, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama from Vanvas (being ostracised). The last two days have been Diwali for Mr George Fernandes. In the words of Vajpayee: “George ka vanvaas khatm ho gaya.”

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