Today, I went out for tea with two young engineers from my company. After tea, we took some chewing gum. One engineer took the wrapper and was about to throw it on the ground. I stopped him, and pointed out to the nearest garbage can. He went to the can and dropped it, but since it was windy this morning in Bangalore, the wrapper flew and fell outside the can. He smiled and said, ‘Well, at least I tried’.
After that we were crossing the street. I told him, ‘Let me tell you a story’. I told him this story which happened many years ago when I was living in US:
I was at a movie theater and I saw a father tell his son (must be two years old) to throw his trash into the trash can which was about 10 meters away. The son started walking slowly towards the trash can, reached it and put his trash on the can. He turned around and walked back towards his father. But the minute he turned back, the trash fell out onto the ground. The son didn’t know this. When the son came back, the father pointed out to his trash on the ground and asked his son to go back and pick it up. The two year old kid walked back picked up the trash and put it in the right place this time and walked back. The father lifted his son and hugged him; and they left.
Then I told the engineer, ‘that’s why some countries are great, and India is like this’, and added, ‘there are few good things to learn from other countries, which we should; and there are bad things also, which we can ignore’.
By then, we reached our office which was about 250 meters away from the tea place, and we started to climb up the stairs when suddenly this engineer stopped in his tracks and said, ‘I am going back to keep the wrapper in the trash can’, and went back to do the job.
It made me happy that this engineer did what he did. While what I witnessed long ago in US was amazing. What I witnessed today was equally amazing. It made me feel confident that we Indians can improve our nation. We have to set our minds towards it, teach our kids the right lessons, and hope they become responsible citizens. And I believe that one of the biggest steps towards making this country great is taking the responsibility of the shit we create and the trash we produce.