Friday, 1 February 2008

Fouled up, have you?----Sunday Scribblings

Foul reminds me of everything negative. It is a negative word, after all. We all say, it is so foul, he/she fouled it up, what a foul soul! He/she always plays foul. Something or the other, to this effect. I feel gross is not foul. Gross is well... stinky.

Talking of foulest stench, in India, you cannot avoid garbage dumps even in a place like Delhi or Mumbai. One can see it spilling all over the place. Only way to deal with such a problem is to create awareness. We teachers do try to do it in our own ways. For that, one has to inculcate a feeling of belonging. Public property is considered that, public. No one is responsible for it. So damage, litter, foul it up. Keep your homes clean but who cares about the streets or roads. That is attitude of most people, even the so-called educated ones. I have been my sarcastic best. It has not helped in anyway. Nothing has.

Leaving that, let us talk about certain people and their behaviour. Black-hearted people are revolting, no doubt. However, here I am not going to dwell on that. I want to speak about those who really mess up their lives and then crib about it, their lot, and their plight. They do not know how to let go, do not learn from their mistakes. They are so self absorbed that they do not see beyond themselves. Pessimism becomes a way of life for them. I do agree life is not fair some of the times.

There are circumstances we cannot avoid. Taking it in a broader sense, we do not have control over war and strife. To some extent poverty too. We cannot choose our country, religion(we can change that, as cocaine pointed out, I was not thinking in that direction when I wrote it) and our parents. As a child too, we are dependent on others. Nevertheless, we can choose our direction in life. Wanting something and aspiring for it is a way of life. In a constructive way. But some have misplaced notions about wanting. More and more. Of what? Some chose the destructive way. Fully well knowing what they are doing. When it does not work out the way they had desired, they are unable to accept it.

For them, I say...ok, you knew better, you fouled up your life. I have listened enough. Why don’t you move away from it? It is never too late. I will do what I can for you. I will hold your hand if you wish it. Just do not expect me to sympathise with you. You did it with your eyes wide open. Everything fell apart. You fell down. Now, pick yourself up and get going. Do not foul it up any further. You owe it to yourself. And society at large.

Some might feel I am being harsh. I believe that by pitying, sympathising, we are not doing that person any favour.


  1. wonderful post.
    we to get it, to a lesser degree, people who simply do not care for their surroundings. yes, i can see what you mean about public things not belonging to the individual but surely, we all like to look out at pleasant scenery rather than a litter heap. the view is ALL mine after all.

    not sure that i agree with you about religon though. I was brought up as a christian (stopped when i was 12 or 13). i am very spiritual but def not a christian. nothing wrong with christians or any other faith but not for me.
    i think that we all can change our religon if we want and are allowed.

  2. I can so relate to the friends one!
    that is gross about india! I had no idea! Way to go doing your part!

  3. I don't think this is harsh at all. To me, a victim is a casualty who refuses to get over it. And in refusing, they victimise themselves.

  4. Nice post, Gautami. Litter piles can change, but things take time. Look at Singapore. Writing about it is a good first step to bring awareness of the situation.

  5. and it pisses me off to no end that we,, i speak of americans ,, would rather spend billions of dollars on "environmentally friendly" products and services,, thus thinking we are doing something for the planet,, than help clean up the things that really need to be seen to...

    what good does it do to recycle in america if india and the phlippines and who knows where else are still stewn with rotting garbage??? is mother earth not your planet too?? should we not offer our money, and "superior intelligence",, and you know i say that in jest,, to other countries to other people that either lack the technology or the funding to clean up already existing problems of epic proportion... no.. there is no money in it...

    f'ing usa....

  6. Last night I watched a documentary on the plastic bag. Oh how it was supposed to revolutionize the world 30 years ago!
    Thank You Oil Conglomerate Engineers.

    Part of the program showed the ubiquitous discarded plastic bags swirling around massive open-air garbage dumps in large urban centres such as Nairobi and Delhi.

    It showed the equally ubiquitous meandering cows munching on the plastic bags, which block their digestive system and they eventually die.

    Luckily there are people who operate on these free-range rein'cow'nated bovines and even manage to save the odd one..
    although it would seem to be an exercise in futlity since most will probably resume chewing on those damn bags again and starve to death.
    Oh the irony.

  7. Cocaine: good to see you here after so long. I agree with you about being able to change our religion, if we wish to. I corrected it in my post.

    I too think spirituality has nothing to do with religion.

    jen: gross, I wouldn't call it that. I cal uncaring.

    anthony: They thrive in it. That is the worst part of it.

    khambagirl: Situation is improving. But it is very slow.

    paisley: We have the means. Problem is awareness and initiative. The govt does not seem to care.

    Donn: As long as those polythene bags are there, and bovines roaming the streets, this problem is not going to go away.

  8. Gautami, you always write such deeply profound pieces and this is no exception. Very well spoken.

    I don't think this is harsh. And we can become too complacent and too willing to say "oh well". But it is each person's individual responsiblity -- take care of your life and if you do that, everything else takes care of itself. Being responsible is what this is about -- this life. Depending on others to do that is to cheat not just yourself but the other person.

  9. No, not harsh, so true. Unfortunately, people just don't seem to realize how much power they really do have.

    Something Foul Going On

  10. People are pretty much the same the world over - Some people work hard for change and some create situations that need changed. Nice post!

  11. Great post as always. You can take any prompt and make it socially relevant. I can take any prompt and reduce it to crap.

  12. I think you're absolutely right that awareness is a key, but I think the other key is stakeholding (is that a word? to be a stakeholder in something) - people need to feel that the public spaces belong to each of them, that they are their legacy. As long as there is no feeling of ownership (of the problem, not the deed to the land), there can be no stewardship.

  13. One abiding memory of my time in Delhi last year will unfortuately be the rubbish I encountered once I was off the tourist trail. Raj Ghat so pristine, yet the back streets of Paharganj saddened me.
    I still be going back though!

  14. short-term egocentrism comes to mund... wonderfully written as always, gautami

  15. I agree with you and am glad to hear someone saying that people should consider reforming their own lives instead of blaming someone else for the mess they have created. I also enjoyed the story you posted on my blog. Those kids are the ones who have had their lives fouled by others--people who were supposed to care for them, but even so, some of them manage to thrive and succeed. They are victors.

  16. It's all about taking responsibility. I'm a big proponent of "You made your bed, so lie in it, or start making a new one".

  17. Well, I don't think that you are being to harsh. I'm a big supporter of counseling, but the person with the problem needs to take the initiative to change. People need to grieve their problem, but then get past the victim mentality. I think we all have something terrible that we are going through.

  18. foul on the inside? foul on the outside.

  19. Wonderful use of the prompt. Whenever I travel, locals smells are the thing that hit my first and often stay with me the longest.

  20. What a very wise post...I agree with all you said! It makes me so sad when I see the car in front of me toss their trash, cigarettes, etc. out the window. And I see this daily. It's so disrespectful and selfish, in my opinion. I do think it's a shame that public property is not given the same respect by many people as the private property they live in.

  21. We have a local group of gardeners who (unfunded) neaten up rubbish-strewn public spaces, planting flowers, etc. Eventually the locals seem to respect the effort and stop littering. It might not work everywhere, but it's pretty inspiring when it does.

  22. You make excellent points. I do like your thought that we shouldn't foul it up any more than it already is fouled up.

  23. I've been accused of being harsh too, but I agree with the philosophy that if you created the mess you're in, build a bridge and get over it! I'd like to say that to my step-daughter, but my husband is more the "pitying- and worry how they feel" kind. It's called tough love!

  24. I think every country has gone through such phases .
    I don't think there is anything like
    fouling up life . Life has it's phases . Each has a beauty . Sorrow
    can also be a feeling worth experiencing , productive and creative .
    To me , this post sounds more pessimistic than whatever is meant by
    "fouling up " life .
    Poetic liberty ?


  25. Great post!!

    There are a few people I'd like to forward it to.... but they would not understand. Sadly, they are so caught up fouling up others lives... they continue to foul up their own even more.


  26. this was good, sympathy only makes situations worse sometimes.

  27. I agree that when everyone owns it, no one owns it. I would say, though, that we can't point many fingers at other countries. I haven't been to India, but I know that when I visit our farm in the rural south, my first activity is to pick up roadside trash. I take a large garbage bag, a pair of tongs, and I wear a latex glove, and I pick up cigarette packs, plastic, glass, paper, and metal beverage containers, and all manner of fast food refuse. I just can't believe that people throw these items out their automobile wondows, but they do. And sometimes, they do it while I am out picking up--amazing!

    I am really trying to be responsible, but education is the key.

  28. This was such a true picture you painted...

    If the educated misuse their rights, how can we expect the illiterate to understand?