Ever since I first heard about the Ugly Indian I’ve wanted to join in their activities cleaning up Bengaluru. The problem is that I’ve always been away at school when they’ve had spotfixes in my neighbourhood. But finally, today, I got to clean up a patch of my neighbourhood and meet the inspiring people behind this work.
I was overwhelmed by the experience. Anyone can set up a spotfix, but you need to have the supplies ready to go–red & white paint, shovels, gloves, and a lorry to cart the garbage away to the landfill. The essence of the work is this: you gather together to clean up and beautify an area so people will stop littering. Each person comes ready to get their hands dirty and work as well as contribute for the supplies, usually around ₹200.
I can tell you it’s certainly one of the best ways I’ve spent my time. It is a great way to meet your neighbours, especially those concerned about cleaning up their community. It is also gratifying how many people from the neighbourhood–from shopkeepers and workers to vegetable cart vendors to home owners and general passersby–ask you what you’re doing and who are truly grateful for cleaning up their street. The most inspiring moment came towards the end of the morning when 3 young 14 year old boys, riding by on their bicycles with cricket bats, on their way to play a game. They asked what they were doing, parked their bicycles, and joined in the painting.
If you haven’t seen the Ugly Indian TED talk, I highly recommend it. And then you can start this work in your own community!