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Being Clean

When I began reading Shilpa's post "Wash Your Hands" I found myself remembering snippets from my life. Some values and habits that we hold dear are a reflection of what we believe is important to our existence. It is something that connects to me as I am now, a part of my personality and beliefs, and is ultimately a vital factor that will make me the 'real' you. I am not a cleanliness freak but I strike the right balance.

How many times have you refused something because you are worried it would not be clean? Well, you can refuse if you believe that. But that doesn't solve the issue, does it? 

People say, "I want my house to be clean" and dump the dirt on somebody else's doorstep. That isn't cleanliness. We need to rethink our cleanliness mantra, make it long term.

                                                                  (Image: Unsplash)

I use a hand sanitizer and scrub my son's hands every time we travel by train or plane. My worst fear about traveling by train is that I lose peace of mind imagining the  germs one would pick up by using the loo. It is so filthy and I can't understand why people don't even make an effort to keep it clean. I love traveling by train than plane but the filth scares me. Food scraps, sweet wrappers and snack packets are thrown around the berth itself. I always insist that my three year old son put garbage or rubbish in the bin. Now he does it without being told.

I keep asking my friends to share their 'cleanliness quirks' and here they are:

A bachelor friend I know is so obsessed about cleanliness that he would wash and scrub onions like crazy before chopping them. Not bad at all.

A colleague I knew once confessed that even in the coldest winter mornings, she could not imagine skipping her head bath because it was so engraved in her routine of cleanliness. That too, she used cold water baths, not even warm or lukewarm water.

Another friend confessed that whenever she had friends staying over at her place, she would change the bed linen in the bedroom because she couldn't bear to pick up germs by being in contact with those sheets in any way. 

Yet another friend confessed that even when she stayed in five star hotels, she would use her own clean bed sheets to sleep in because she didn't completely trust what hotels provided. 

An 'unholy' instance: In a small mandir, it shocked me to see that the priest wore dirty sandals inside the mandir where devotees sit and pray. My shock turned to disgust when I saw that the priest, who doesn't look like he has regular baths, is smoking inside the temple when no one is around and worst of all, plucking stuff out of paan stained teeth! URGH!

When I ask regular devotees why they don't point this out, they look at me like I'm an alien and tell me, "He's a priest, what can we say?" That leaves me dumb founded. Really. 

Read what Angela, an international teacher blogged and you may be wary of baby sitters forever. Click here to read this post

What's your cleanliness mantra? Do share it here with suggestions.


Bharathy said…
Thought provoking,post!!!
True...the general public need to be educated abt cleanliness...
The major aspect I hate abt trains is the way a loo is cleared...with a warning "Do not use toilet at stations"!!!
High time railways had better sanitation!!..
Bedsheets can be changed...what abt the millions of dust bugs resting inside the pillows and bed sponge??'s indeed a pity when I came across devotees accepting any offering in the name or Prasada, unaware of it's cleanliness

Well written!!!!
nishitak said…
What I think is, we Indians are very clean inside the house and of ourselves, but when it comes to our neighboring surroundings, we just don't seem to give a damn :(
Shilpa Garg said…
That's a good one!!
Same pinch on train journeys! You may like to read my post on that!

Pretty interesting snippets.
I guess, we all have some or the other idiosyncrasies!

To share mine...I'd never eat from a road side vendor, how much so ever tasty, delicious, yummy his stuff might be!! Friends, colleagues find it pretty weird, but it's a big NO NO for me! :D

But the last 2 snippets are too gross!! EEEEEKs!!
Nanny Dee said…
Swapna -- thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comment -- I'm so glad that you related to the post on tantrums and found it helpful.

I really like your blog -- it is thought provoking and informative.

I have germ issues as well and often have to stop myself from thinking about the millions of germs on public surfaces or I wouldn't go anywhere! Hand sanitizers or wipes go with me everywhere and I am a constant hand washer.

I look forward to reading more of your posts! :D
Lavanya Sriram said…

We need not go beyond our street for the state of cleanliness to be known. The roads (even just outside our homes and around the corners) are so filthy. It is the people who do that. However much, the govt takes initiative, basically, the public should be aware and not throw rubbish everywhere it takes their fancy. And that can happen only we if we inculcate those habits in us and our kids.
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts.

I've got so much to say about this topic that I'm writing my next post on it! So please read and add more comments.
I totally am with you on this. Some basic hygiene needs to be set in place. And my guess is schools will be the best place to start. Children must be told that they can play their own small part in preserving nature by doing very simple things - for starters throwing their sweet wrappers in a bin. I think every classroom should have a hand sanitizer. And instead of theoretically teaching about cleanliness, teach them by using it.
Look at the beaches. The government is doing so much to keep them clean by employing men and women to pick up litter in the wee hours of the morning. But their task will be a lot more easier if people throwing all that littler and plastic in the first place were a little more considerate.
There will be a change when children will walk up to parents littering and say, "pa, don't throw it here and litter, throw it in a bin".
As for using train toilets. I never use them. I just stop drinking anything liquid, the moment I step foot into a train. I'd rather my son to pee in his diaper!
ritu said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ritu said…
Thoughtful blog.... You now i love traveling by trains but using train's loo gives me nightmares.... I just hate it...

Specially I have noted, Indian women should be given some lessons on toilet manners...

Dont know will ever the situation be better or not...
Naarya said…
the temple story was really scary and disgusting
ritu said…
I want to say one more thing Swapna that i forgot to mention yesterday. you should not stop Adi from eating out because this way he will never develop his immunity against all this. Ultimately one day he will have to stay in a hostel or away from home for schooling or college or Job, then it will become difficult for him.

You go to different-2 restaurants also.. how are you sure about their cleanliness... there is no proof of that also. It is all that whenever we eat out we should not be skeptical about it and should not feel that we are gonna fall ill or catch infection.

Eat healthy at home and develop a immune system that helps fight against such things.

Not eating out can not be a solution.

So be positive and don't be scared and let adi also enjoy the street food delicacies that you may have enjoyed in ur childhood.

chitra said…
I had microbiology as a subject during my graduation and after studying that i started having a kind of phobia, like when people sneezed, coughed, etc. Life becomes difficult with that kind of things finally i got over it. Still have some while cleaning vegetables etc.

I too have only cold water head baths. it is more of a habit than any thing else.
Rohit said…
Excellent post indeed! I really dont think that civic sense can be just has to be realised by all. In Cochin, one of the major drawbacks is the lack of public dustbins and waste disposal becomes such a huge mess. We have people coolly dumping waste in any vacant area not even considering that it could be someone else's compound. You have roadside chaiwalah's dipping all possible fingers in the tea before we actually drink it. but on a lighter note, I must say that I have become sort of immune to diseases which could possibly be caused by these unhygenic methods simply because of teh fact that my body has become used to it over teh years ..lolz
Rohit Dassani said…
I had a friend in my hostel... he barely brushed teeth everyday and he used to bath once or twice in a week ... that too in summer of Hyderabad where the temp gets around 42!! Gosh!! There were other too who were far worst than him!!
Cleaniness should be part of the curriculm like from class kg or something ... so that the ideas of cleainess are embedded in us!!
Readers Dais said…
great post but not for thoughts for actions and thats wat all lack,yes cleanliness should be the most important part of our life,but never should it haunt us everywhere we go,u knw kids those who play in mud & rain have better immune system than those who are brought up spotless,cleanliness is needed but nature has to be included.

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