Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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??
....it's indeed a pity when I came across devotees accepting any offering in the name or Prasada, unaware of it's cleanliness

Well written!!!!
Anonymous 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!

http://shilpaagarg.blogspot.com/2009/07/its-repulsive.html

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…
Swapna,

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.


regrads,
Ritu
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 taught..it 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.

Most Popular Posts

Why chant Ramayana during the month of Karkidakam

For Keralites across the world who follow the Malayalam calendar, today marks the beginning of the month of Karkidakam. This month, which, decades ago, was known and slightly feared for its torrential rains and negative impact on the health, wealth and well being of Kerala's rural community. 
Why chant Ramayana during Karkidakam To ward off the negative energy unleashed by Nature and its possible repercussions on one's family's overall well being, the wise elders introduced the timeless tradition of every family reading the Ramayana as an oral, spiritual tradition. Thus, it goes without saying that for Keralites who embrace these traditions, the act of reading the Ramayana is as much a spiritual cleansing as it is a kind of tradition they can pass on to bond with their loved family members, particularly children.
In the Ramayana, there is no 'preaching of principles' but you are taken through the Avatar's journey as a human being. Lord Rama depicts how a man shoul…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered that I would receive such online abuse for writing this or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience or a perspective, not to insult others.  My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to abuse me because our journeys are entirely different narratives. My life and yours are not the same at any given point of time.

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.A new book 'Ants among Elephants' written by Sujatha Gidla, who writes about herself as being born 'an untouchable in India' teaches you everything you probably want to know abo…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your fe…

How to travel with family and create the coziest memories ever!

I know I haven't been blogging as often as I wanted to at the start of this year but so many things are happening in my life, like travel. For a working mom like me, the last time I traveled with my family.....is like ages ago. I do travel but mostly on my own and given the kind of school and work schedules that we have to balance out, it usually doesn't happen that we take a break for summer holidays as a family. Let me confess that it's pretty rare, which is why 2018 has been amazing for me. I got to travel with my family....yay!
Okay, so back to earth with a big bang, shall we?  
First, we headed to Gangtok, in Sikkim, via Siliguri in West Bengal. We had a fabulous time. My love for travel got a real boost, just as it used to in my childhood days, when my parents used to take us to different places during our summer vacations.
For me, the joys of travel have nothing to do with seeing new places, as it does with the fun-filled conversations we have with ourselves and the pe…

Book Review: Nan Umrigar's Sounds of Silence, A Bridge Across Two Worlds

The year 1978 was a glorious one for Karl Umrigar – a young man who won many prestigious horse races, including the Indian 2000 Guineas and the Indian Oakes. Finally, Karl Umrigar fulfilled his dream – every jockey’s dream– to win the Indian Derby. His name remains in the Indian Derby scroll of honour. 
But just at exactly the moment Karl won, he fell from the horse.  A fall that finally saw the country mourn for him when the headlines of the Indian Express read, “The King is Dead.” Karl Umrigar, the young champion and loved by many, was laid to rest on May 3, 1979.
Karl Umrigar’s Death: Bridge between Two Worlds You can imagine what Karl’s death did to his family, particularly his mother – Nan Umrigar. She says, “Nothing could have prepared us for the darkness that descended upon us – nothing!
While her family tried to pull on with daily routine, Nan Umrigar found herself in such a state of agony and trauma that she couldn’t resume a normal life. She couldn’t let go of her son.
She heard…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…

Does Maha Mrityunjaya mantra work?

Many people ask me this question, ''Does Maha Mrityunjaya mantra work?''. Mantras always work but the problem is that we are often not open to believing this.  The query about whether the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra works comes in different forms, sometimes by email, in the comments section or in person. Most people are curious, some are interested but few are committed to sincerely want the answer.



I am just an ordinary seeker on the spiritual path but my experiences have taught me valuable lessons and I am sharing this with you so that it helps your spiritual progress.
From what I have learned from my grandmother, who was a devout Shiva Bhakt throughout her life, the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra is a powerful mantra that has ancient sounds which provides an aura of protection to those who chant it with faith regularly and it triggers powerful energies to remove sufferings and diseases. This is why Hindus believe that the one who chants the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra will be blesse…

Jodhpur travel: Ring in the New Year with Flying Fox adventure, Polo Grounds, a room without a roof & more

A part of me has always been a dreamer, a seeker, and a wanderer.Perhaps the way I grew up has something to do with this. Bright, blue sky, skin colored sand that you could melt into and blue waters that sparkled when you splashed it on your skin....ah, the magic of growing up in a place like Blantyre! It felt joyful when we chose to welcome the New Year by traveling to a new place together for the first time! I can't describe the delicious feeling of excitement that I felt when we reached Jodhpur. I love not to plan and travel to places just like that - it has its dangers but still......!



The real fun began when we went sightseeing! The spicy food (not to my son's liking - he doesn't like to eat anything with onions - which puts us in quite a difficult situation with most Indian dishes), the warmth and hospitality, the grand palaces, forts and there is so much I want to share with you about the moments I enjoyed, the people I made friends with and the experiences I had. 

Mo…