Goa is one of the country’s smallest and loveliest states, yet if the problems here are so huge and seemingly unsurmountable, it makes one shudder thinking of the rest of the country.
Politics, for one, is very dirty here. That doesn’t come as a surprise, though. If it was clean, now that would be something to write about. Talking about cleanliness, I like Goa because it looks cleaner than say, Mumbai. Roads are swept every morning, pavements are relatively clean, gardens are tidied up even in pouring rain. Yet, every evening at 8:30, under cover of darkness, a worker from a restaurant along the Mandovi river crosses the road with a dustbin. The dustbin is black and clearly marked with a Corporation of Panaji sign. We have them at home too – black for general garbage and green for food waste, segregated at source for recycling.
As he crosses the road, newspapers from the bin fly out to the road onto oncoming traffic. Blissfully unaware (or uncaring), this man walks to the edge of the red and yellow pavement to the point where the pedestrian access stops and the bridge begins. Setting the bin on the parapet, he waits a minute and looks out over the river glistening blue under the ghastly TataIndicom electronic billboard. A few meters away, yachts bob in the choppy waters, moored along a new marina. India’s Venice.
A minute passes; he’s in no hurry. He looks left and right, perhaps checking if any body is looking. Perhaps, he’s just looking – I doubt he cares if anybody is watching him. Then, with one swift move, he tips the bin over into the river. He leaves the bin on the parapet and climbs over to the other side to relieve himself. Job done, he climbs back, wipes his hands on his open white shirt, picks up the bin and crosses the road again.
He’s not the only one. In the early morning, a worker from a nearby tea-stall, does the same thing.
So much for recycling.
PS: Photos coming soon.