There is no shame in using a jharoo
It was a dark day when I was caught red handed by my friends, squatting over the floor and sweeping it with a jharoo. Within seconds, the camera phones were out, and their lenses were all aimed at me. The images were injected into the web-ways, and they received a dozen ‘lol’s’ and many more likes in the first 24 hours.
The joke, I imagine, was that some people like to keep their rooms clean. Ha, absolutely hysterical!
This form of immaturity is shared by more than just my small band of burger buddies (yeah, you heard me!). Way too commonly is the act of cleaning associated with the lower income class – something that only our maasis (maids), sweepers and aayas should be doing, but not us!
Perhaps this mindset has been consolidated by the high prevalence of poverty, and the perks of cheap labour that inevitably follow. Such is not the case in developed nations, where most people clean up after themselves.
Customers in a fast-food restaurant in France, for instance, usually toss their waste in the bins themselves, and stack the plastic trays neatly on top. They don’t leave all their chicken bones and empty burger cases behind for the waiter to deal with. Unaccustomed to this outré ritual, but determined to do in Paris what the Parisians do, I started doing the same. Unfortunately, the first time I tried, the whole tray slipped and fell into the bin, creating quite a scene. But I digress.
Ever walked into a home that looks like a set from a post-apocalyptic movie scene?
It’s not because the Jews have finally taken over. It’s because the maasi, God bless her, has not shown up for two days. The solution, for some, does not involve taking out the cleaning products from under the sink, and doing some work themselves (I’d be surprised if a lot of people even know where they keep their own bottles of Detol and Harpic). Their special way of dealing with such a conundrum is to wallow in their own filth for 48 hours, cursing the stupid kaam-wali (maid), without making any effort on their own to stay neat.
Ever eaten at a restaurant, or worse, a wedding (ominous music plays) where the people at the next table look like they’ve been using dynamite sticks to cut their meat? You know something is horribly wrong when there’s more rice scattered over the table than the amount actually consumed. If I make a little effort to eat carefully and wipe the table with my napkin if a bit of food falls on it, does it really make me obsessive-compulsive?
Ever been with a friend who complains consistently about the sad state of our country, and the apathy of our fellow countrymen towards it? While taking a ride in your car, he tosses a can of coke out of the window, along with his own principles, even though we’re five minutes away from home where the can could’ve been properly disposed. Way to be patriotic!
Not only should we be demanding good hygiene, we ought to be making the effort to keep things tidy ourselves. If you see a bunch of empty juice boxes lying in the parking lot, don’t just jump on them and giggle feverishly when they pop loudly. Pick them up and toss them into the nearest bin.
There’s no dishonour in keeping your surroundings clean. The only thing ignominious is living in a filthy environment without even trying to do something about it. Don’t wait for the government, or your countrymen, to come and rescue you every time. Grab a jharoo and help yourself out!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.