Sunday, March 29, 2015

.. Be The Change You Wish to See.."

She was one of my closest friends in Germany. We made waffles together and used (abused?) her coffee machine. She loved my baking or maybe was just too kind. It was a good friendship. We stayed in the same complex and both of us were staying alone. She taught me a lot about baking. We were of the same age and which probably was the reason why we bonded so well. I liked her fierce patriotism towards her country which to be honest is a common trait amongst the Germans.  For the longest time we had our little routine. Apart from our daily chit chat here and there we used to make it a point to have breakfast together on Sundays. Mostly waffles and eggs followed by copious amounts of coffee. We would then head out for long walks. One very noticeable thing during our walks was that she would pick whatever little (Really Little) litter she would come across in the park. My little town was really clean. Really clean. I used to make fun of her patriotism and the German obsession with perfection and she'd retort   "Be the change you wish to see" . I would accuse her of going Gandhi on an Indian. Once she told me that she felt responsible and wanted to do her bit. It was her country, her town and every bit mattered to her. She also said that you shouldn't "be okay" with your circumstances and should always strive for perfection (Germans!!). Perfection is like infinity and you are always closer but you never meet it.  It kind of stayed somewhere in my head.

As Indians we believe in "Chalega yaar". I know we are always struggling to get from one point to the other and things will change in India eventually. I know all that. There are still a few things which we can easily avoid but "chalta hai yaar".
Last evening I went out for a run. There is a nice little park where I go for my runs. It has a jogging track and is densely populated with trees. It is just lovely. As I started running I realized that the park was very dirty. There were disposable plates everywhere. Polythene bags etc. It was Navratri yesterday and little kids were fed by all "so called religious people" in the park. Religion teaches them to feed the poor and to compete with fellow devotees on feeding the poor  but of course why clean the mess? Religion does not talk about cleaning your shit. does it? As expected, they didn't bother to clean up. So after my run I thought of my friend and decided to clean up a bit. Just when I was trying to throw away some of the litter I saw this auntyjii with a kid and a maid( who looked like a kid herself). The maid was there to entertain the kid so that auntyjii could eat chips and talk loudly on the phone. Win -win? Just when her maid tried to help me out the auntyjii said aloud " Rehne de yeh sab toh chalta hai" ( Leave it this is acceptable). I looked at her and noticed her empty bag of chips was carelessly thrown on the side. I asked her if she could throw her litter in the dustbin at least. There are kids everywhere and they are not learning the right things.. I am not sure what she did. I had thrown the discarded plates in the dustbin and walked back home.

Today when I went there again I noticed there was not even a single plate there. It just made me very happy. There is still some hope left..
I miss you Stephanie..