Riteish Deshmukh: LITTER(ally) WAKE UP

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By Hindustan Times

New Delhi, April 14 -- How often do we hear it? How often do we say it? How often do we actually stand by it or implement it? Our city is diseased with many issues, water, garbage, power, traffic, pollution, education, etc and as responsible citizens we all should do our bit.

We realise our duty towards these issues but we are most often off-duty when its time to act. Television channels throw it at us and newspapers slap it across our faces, but do we ever learn? We do nothing in hope that someone else is doing their bit. We all are the same, lazy and irresponsible.

Realise the issue and wake up to it.

One evening, post dinner I was driving around with a few friends. We stopped at Volga (fort area, Mumbai) to have paan. I had the paan and chucked the wrapper on the street. Ekta, a friend of mine, quickly picked it up and realising that there was no garbage bin around, kept it in her pocket. I was absolutely taken aback by this. I fought with her for the wrapper and assured her I'd dispose it in a near by bin. But she didn't give it to me, and instead she asked me to 'pay it forward'.

Ekta cared for her surroundings, for her city and she knew it was her duty to act on it first. God knows what made her realise her duty, but I know that she made me realise mine. It has been 14 years since and I have promised myself to never litter. Today, if I see any of my friends litter, I pick it up to put it in the nearby bin, if not I pocket it to dispose it later. Many a times I am laughed at by my friends, often called a dumpster or a garbage pick, but I never give up. Most importantly, I never give up on them. One day, they will wake up to their responsibility the way I woke up to mine, and someday you wake up to yours too. We all need to learn to be more responsible. It's not always the government's job; we need to help it to help us. If each of us does our bit, trust me we will have a better city, a better country and a better world to live in.

It's a start. Start it today. Start it now.