Bins and Bins and Bins!!
by Nuggehalli Pankaja
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
The imperative instructions of the government regarding the disposal of garbage created utter chaos raising numerous questions, and arguments, especially among residents of buildings, with each interpreting the rules in different ways.”
Wet? Dry? What is it?” – They asked each other, the watchman adding to the confusion with his varied explanations. The housewives were the first to get upset because thereafter they had to keep extra garbage cans at home, and check regularly that no confusion takes place. Likewise, three or four huge garbage-bins instead of one, and decorated with the now famous slogan- ‘WET-DRY-BOTTLES' had to be kept near the gate itself to facilitate the removal by the garbage-vehicle on its daily rounds. In their hurry, or due to forgetfulness, WET could be dropped into the ‘DRY’ bin, and DRY dropped into the WET bin, BOTTLES etc glass pieces into all bins, inviting a lot of hubble-bubble leading to pandemonium all around!
Maid-servants who were used to throwing garbage recklessly on their way out, preferably on the footpaths, refused to co-operate unless given ‘Garbage–Allowance.’ Watchman also joined the strike. Flat-owners grumbled, saying “As it is, we are paying garbage–cess. Then why should we incur more expenses? Then we too should get garbage-allowance instead of being exploited on all sides!”
The tenants shuddered thinking of the increase in the monthly maintenance contributed perforce by them to the building. While all these were being sorted out, a tragedy struck! The now famous BINS suddenly disappeared, and could be procured back only at black-market price; Housewives still reeling under the gas-price increase, began to plan another Bangalore Bund!!
The talk veered towards the exorbitant fines that would be imposed in case anyone failed to abide by the rules, and that led to another round of arguments. Why should they all pay the penalty if one of them erred?
“I told you to buy an independent house, but you snubbed me and went for a flat; now look at the mess we have landed in!” - One wife lost no time in taking her husband to task. True, though independent houses also had to be careful in following this WET-DRY rules, probability of being victimized by such confusions would be less.
Plight of pet-owners was even more pathetic! Morning-walk served both purposes—‘Dog-walk,' plus ‘Dog-toilet’. Now, morning-walk of pet-owners lessened. Naturally, the pets were bewildered. Deriving great pleasure by relieving themselves in front of the houses, especially before posh houses and over the artistically drawn rangoli, walker’s–path, and middle of road, they were reluctant to adopt themselves to any new toilet-arrangement. Peeved, began showing their resentment by peeing in the drawing rooms, bedrooms. Kitchen, even in the dining room! Started barking like one possessed, while the street-dogs being cleverer and worldly-wise, apologized for all the inconveniences caused by them and requested the authorities to install a toilet-bin for them in every nook and corner. **** Footnote- Bangalore has been undergoing severe ‘Garbage problem’ and ‘Bin headache.’
(This was written inspired by the garbage-clearing process in our Bangalore)