I was away from home for a fortnight to convalesce at my daughter’s place after my cataract surgery. When I came back the eyesore that met my super clear eyes first was a heap of dried, rotten twigs and branches outside my compound wall. I cursed the Electricity department who were the usual culprits for lopping off the branches of the trees that touch the electric lines and leaving them in front of our houses with no thought of ever clearing them.

As a first step I appealed to the Corporation sweeper on duty in my area to clear it. As expected, she frankly refused to do it. She also told me that unless she got direct instructions from the highly elusive ‘Super’ she could not and would not take action. Added to this I was already aware of the perpetual ‘passing the buck’ between BBMP and BESCOM (Civic and Electrical departments) whenever garbage accumulated on the roadside after the periodic lopping of the trees.

I went on Internet and managed to find the Complaint section of Bangalore Corporation guaranteeing action within 30 minutes. After going through the usual rigmarole of ‘Press 1 for…’ ‘Press 2.. etc’ common to Call centers, I finally found a lady who took my complaint and ensured that  help would be there within an hour. I waited half a day for the help that never came. When I rang them up again, a male voice very courteously told me that help would surely arrive in a couple of hours.

I had to wait for 3 days before a man came on a motor bike. Why is that people in Bangalore can never find your house unless at least 6 calls have passed between his ‘mobile’ and your phone asking for the location? Without getting down from his bike he asked me, “Where is the fallen tree?” I told him that I never mentioned a fallen tree in my complaint but had asked for the heap of old branches and twigs to be cleared. Derisively he took a look at the rotting lot and said, “We are not responsible for clearing this. We cut only trees fallen due to wind or rain. It is the job for Bescom people.” He also rang up his boss giving him the triviality of my complaint. When I argued with him about the inefficiency of their departments he promised to forward the complaint to the Corporation people but then it would take some time- SOME TIME INDEED!

Later when I discussed the problem with my servant maid she confessed that BESCOM had nothing to do with it. It was she who during my fortnight’s absence from home had dumped the branches when she trimmed the plants in my garden. She had expected that the Corporation sweeper would haul it away as a matter of course. In the meantime the incessant rains had reduced the vernal garbage into an ugly, damp mass. Since it was my maid’s mistake, I made her clear all the leaves from the branches and dump them in the household wet garbage bin and asked her to get rid of the denuded twigs somewhere. Next day the road sweeper cleared the overflowing garbage bin without a whimper.

After about a month a call came from (presumably) Corporation office asking if I had a fallen tree to be cleared. I told him that I was utterly disappointed with their lack of prompt action and that I had got it cleared myself. I also told him that I was taking back the complaint.

Two weeks later another call came, this time a lady asking me if I had complained about a fallen tree. I had to tell her about the cancellation of my complaint.

Heaven knows how many more conscientious souls in Bangalore Corporation will be ringing me about the fallen tree in days to come. HAIL SWACHCH BHARAT.




8 thoughts on “SWACHH BHARAT

  1. Satyapriyan T V I guess you are among the few like me, who got the message of Swacch Bharat right. It is about demonstrating how to use the broom on clean surfaces and expect others to do the cleaning job on dirty surface. Of course, it is our duty to ask the governme…See More
    Like · Reply · 16 hrs
    Vimala Ramu
    Vimala Ramu Thanks for taking the trouble to respond, Sir. Like Charity, cleanliness begins with your own house smile emoticon
    Like · Reply · 16 hrs · Edited
    Satyapriyan T V
    Satyapriyan T V It is a very interesting and relevant subject. Even our PM knows exactly what we know about how his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan will work. I have learnt to appreciate the jumlas. smile emoticon

    Bnk Prasad
    Bnk Prasad Nice story. Kept the interest till the end.
    Thank you Sriman.

  2. H.R.Seetharam
    Good one. Have you sent it to DH ?
    Vimala- I think I did. As a matter of routine I post all my blogs first to DH and SH. I wait for some time.If they are not published, then I put it on my site.

  3. Very funny Auntie. I enjoyed the true story thoroughly. I am sure you must be still getting calls for the fallen tree!
    So, finally you found the culprit!!- Hema Sundar
    vimala- Thank you Hema for the pleasant surprise of an instant response to my blog

  4. Vimala, LOVED the story. I would swear that you were dealing with the County of Maui. What incidentally does the title mean?- John
    Vimala- It means A Clean India, a favorite slogan of our PM’s campaign.

  5. Vimala you should get this published in the daily.

    These things are universal for all cities.

    Though the Premier may shout his throat hoarse slogans like Swachh Bharat and Make In India, these would remain paper dreams as long as the masses do not realize from within the need for a cleaner, healthier and stronger nation.



    Thanks Geeta, Most of the newspapers do not want to antagonize the establishment.

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