Squeaking about clean

I am charmed by Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. The fact that the facilities are unhygienic and he deems it as a difference in perception of standards of hygiene reveals a truth that we and the rest of the world refuses to accept.

It could be a nice cocoon within the complex, but does it change the way Indians perceive hygiene? Have you used toilets in public places? Haven’t you seen the manner in which people defecate and urinate in the streets? Before screwing up your noses, and we do that, let us remember that these people have no choice. Let us also try and look back at our ‘lesser’ athletes who have to make do with very basic facilities. Let us recall the times we have glorified this excreta and let the westerners make millions of dollars over the dump.

One is not pro-dirt. Bhanot has not ‘shamed India’ as the headlines claim. We need to see how we shame ourselves and our citizens everyday. If some countries want to bring their own janitors, then they might as well bring their mosquito nets and Evian bottles too.

It seems that they are deliberately showing these aspects much as the fear created over security. Why would our authorities let them take these pictures? And how do we know for certain what these particular photos are from and about? Something stinks here and it is not the poop.

Those who have travelled overseas do know that the quick-fix fragrance and automatic flush stuff is not always about cleanliness. Loos there have sanitary napkins and toilet rolls on the floor; the seats often have menstrual stains. We all know about the legendary lack of male aim, and it is universal. Garbage bins overflow and are collected weekly as they wait in the backyards of those who can afford backyards. People do pee against bushes. And where do you think the homless go to clean up?

There appears to be less dust due to the climate, but there is enough of it going around. Mouldy foodstuff is pushed into a microwave to come out as good as new. Yes, Indians spit, but if you have seen any Phil Donahue show or read some silly stuff about Hollywood starlets and models you will know that their natural resources are expended in quite public a fashion. I know of women unable to control their bladders who have sat nonchalantly on pub stools as their stockings got drenched. But, the weather’s so chippy nippy that it dries and their glasses of ale warm them up so.

Of course, it’s all nice and clean at Flushing Meadows and Wimbledon and the World Cup and other events because the guys who mess up in the locker rooms are the guys who win the medals. So, no one complains because no one talks about it.

Get over it, people. Cricketers rub their balls against their balls and footballers spit on the grounds; tennis players lick their sweaty upper lips and athletes fart in their shorts. And people will pay money to wear, touch these items of clothing. Go clean up your minds first, then we can talk about how prepared we are.

Are our players ready to run, pole-vault and stand tall? Ask that question and let the drains choke to death.


  1. FV
    Whatever you say, it is a fact that the whole subcontinent including(India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan) is a stink tank. Majority of the people of this region live under filthy and unbelievable conditions in this regard. Comparing this region with Flushing Meadows and Wimbledon or World Cup is like comparing soap with scum.
    And same goes for security.

  2. Circle:

    I am not comparing Flushing Meadows with how the unfortunate people in our countries live. I was positing those Games venues with ours, and how what is lauded for its spanking clean 'look' do not see beyond and yonder.

    Of course, we are filthy, but why does it strike us only when we need to get tarted up for international events? Why is this not a regular manifesto? And, yes, standards of hygiene are different. We don't put half-eaten apples in our handbags, or our shoes up on sofas and tables.

    We need to be clean for ourselves.


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