Ashish Vaswani
Inspite of being a Mumbaikar, it’d been years since I paid any of the local beaches a proper visit. My most recent outings to the beach were either limited to dumping ritualistic garbage into the Arabian Sea or were cut-short by sudden cravings for a gola (kala khatta masala maarke!) at Juhu beach. So when my family decided to spend the weekend at Madh Island, I jumped at the prospect of revisiting the good old days. Spending Sunday evenings with my toy spade and plastic bucket, making sand castles by the sea, admiring the beautiful sunset is one of the most beautiful memories associated with my childhood.

My walk by the beach began quite as expected. I was enjoying the wind blowing my hair away as dark skies brought in a slight drizzle, just to add a dash of spice to an already blissful evening. But the pleasure soon turned to horror. As I walked farther away from The Retreat, all I saw was sewage lines running right through the middle of the very same beach that used to be one of the most pristine locations around (now officially in) the city till less than a decade back...

 It made for a really sorry sight and all I could do was just stand and stare in disbelief as endless streams of polythene flowed past me. Like all other beaches in the city, Madh also serves as a free public toilet for the locals who still don’t have any sanitation facilities whatsoever.

I know blogging about issues like this is not the solution. But here are a few questions that we must ask ourselves:

How long will it take us to start caring for our city in particular and our country at large?

Can’t the educated few of us do absolutely nothing to find a way out of this mess?

How long will it take us to understand that the boundaries of our houses do not end at our backyards?

Can we afford to spray our paan pichkaari on the roads in Singapore or litter in the bylanes of Dubai?

Will we ever learn or we’re always going to find the easy way out by saying, “Oh Darling, yeh India hai, yahaan sab chalta hai!”

It’s soon going to be that time of the year again, when the city will be bustling with activity at Ganpati pandals, each one trying to outweigh the other by claiming to be bigger (and supposedly)better than the others. And God will be laughing from Heaven up above, wondering what has come up to be of his beautiful creation.

But it’s still up to us to decide whether this is the way we want to wish our beloved elephant-headed God adieu...

...or rather use eco-friendly techniques to ring in the celebrations. The choice is entirely ours...

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