OCOW Diarist Contest Winner 


Whether it be the human chains that help each other from falling off a crowded local or the attached hands trying to support themselves in a rickety BEST bus, Mumbaikars have always found a way to be involved in each others live; known people and strangers alike. This very quality uniquely describes the daily life of a Mumbai citizen where living in South Bombay or North Mumbai is only separated by the amount of time you need to travel. This useful and somewhat annoying habit of our fellow city dwellers could easily be turned into an absolutely impactful job; the job of trying to clean up this gorgeous city of ours.

Our city has literally gone down the dumps. Not a single street in the city is litter free. If the BMC decides to install garbage cans, chances are that they will be uprooted and stolen by no later than the very next day. These actions and attitudes have become habitual more than anything. Throwing litter on the street is perceived as normal; men spitting those god awful ugly paan stains are just viewed with quiet disgust. Nobody in particular cares about the actions of the next person.

But, this careless attitude could easily be changed. How? You may ask. Well, ask yourself this question. Would you take the time and energy to be a litter police if you would be rewarded for it? Not just some pat in the back by some corrupt police man, but an actual monetary reward? Of course you would, everybody would! I would too. Therefore, I believe I have fabricated a rough yet brilliant solution for a cleaner city. Each one catch one!

First of all, we need to get steal proof bins installed. Secondly, have more police officers roam the streets, and have closer police chowkis. The next step is where the fun actually begins. What I propose is that every citizen should be given the right to catch an offender from right under their noses. Take the said offender to the police or concerned authority and get them fined a thousand bucks! Now, *insert evil laughter here* the job of the police will be to fine the offender a thousand rupees out of which the civilian catcher gets a hundred. Very simple, right!

Simple human psyche defines that we will do such mundane things if it gets us on the way to easy money. A person who isn’t concerned much about the health of the city would still actively pursue this job in order to earn extra cash for the day. In a chain reaction, a repeat litterer or spitter etc would force himself to curb his or her deplorable habit to save him from dishing out that extra cash. He or she would have to stop such revolting and ghastly practices because of which the city would slowly but surely keep getting healthier.

The only glitch to this project would be corruption. Every person that catches an offender should stay strong and firm. Educate the public on the importance of a clean and green city, add the promise of easy money, and we might just be able to create an army of litter Nazis; people who would go the lengths to punish a fellow citizen who needs to be reminded to stop dirtying the city streets. We must poke our noses in each other’s businesses and do what all Mumbaikars are born to do, be over involved in our cause to a cleaner Mumbai!

-  OCOW Diarist Contest Winner – Fatema Savai