November 29, 2014

#SwachSubways

      Strepsils India has a campaign underway to raise awareness on Cleanliness, basically promoting Swach Bharat. Through their page Ab Montu Bolega, Strepsils India is encouraging bloggers and public to raise their voice against any place that requires cleaning or people that need attention.
     Click on the link for more details  http://www.abmontubolega.com/  or visit the Strepsils India page on Facebook and Twitter. The links are as follows:
https://www.facebook.com/StrepsilsIndia?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/StrepsilsIndia

      I travel frequently by public transport which many a time requires me to cross a busy road because a bus stop or metro station is on the other side. I have had no choice but to take the subway ,at times, to the other side as its dangerous to walk across an arterial road during peak hour. Whenever I took the subway, I would always be twice as alert, holding up my handkerchief or the end of my dupatta to my face as I walked through it in long hurried strides. I would invariably be ambushed by hawkers selling flowers or little trinkets who persistently followed me edging me on to purchase something so they could 'feed their starving babies'. I would have to hop over drains that would appear out of no where or sleeping stray dogs or dodge an occasional bat or pigeon that would swoop past me. 
     When people mention 'subways' the mental image that most of us have is a dingy dark underground tunnel which smells of urine and where most illegal deals go down. Having traveled to many of the metropolitan cities across India I can say with much confidence that Subways in most cities are not maintained what so ever. They are crawling with rodents and beggars looking for shelter. They turn into reservoirs of water during the monsoons and remain water logged even much after the rains.
     Its not uncommon to notice the various posters advertising help with personal problems and promoting 'health' supplements. The walls are caked with layers of 'pan' juice and graffiti isn't a very pleasant sight for anyone walking through. Most subways also lack sufficient ventilation and has almost no sunlight coming in and are potential breeding grounds for a lot of disease and infection.    
     As a part of a Urban Design project in the city that I was part of in college, subways were reviewed for the number of daily commuters that used it and what they felt about them. The majority of the people chose to cross a busy main road and put their life at risk than walk through a stinking subway. Women avoided subways fearing their safety. Subways are like the human esophagus with a strep infection badly in need of lozenges. #abmontubolega.
Our cities would be so much better if its little nooks and crannies were taken care of. It is as important as cleaning behind your ears.  

Here's hoping that this campaign manages to make a difference. Kudos on the effort so far.