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A Responsible Citizen

25th January 2023

Media, news, and all other mediums these days focus on glorifying how a particular person does so much, what they sacrificed and achieved, and why they are great. The tangent in which celebrities are followed and idolized is at another level. Among all this, the one who stands aside and still makes a mark is a real HERO - the common man!

Not considering the whole planet, as our country topped the population chart; ( 141.46 crores as of 24th January 2023), Imagine the kind of impact we as individuals can make if we start thinking of giving back to society in our ways! Not very big things, but a small change in our daily habits that will make this world a better place to live in.

Carrying Cloth Bags:
Whether we carry the intent to buy things or not, we should carry our cloth bags. According to theworldcounts.com "We use 5 trillion plastic bags… per year! That’s 160,000 a second! And over 700 a year for every single person on the planet.

12 minutes of use, 1000 years of pollution!
It takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down. On average, a plastic shopping bag is used for just 12 minutes."
With the presented stats, I think what I started with would make more sense now! And these stats only stand valid for plastic bags, this still does not include various other mediums where plastic has replaced conventional objects at an alarming rate.
Let us try and leave some air for future generations, instead of suffocating them with plastic.

Thankfully, I always carry a cloth bag with me wherever I go! And I insist the vegetable/ fruit seller not to give me plastic carry bags and instead pack my stuff in my cloth bag.

Focusing on Maintaining plants:
There are so many plantation drives that happen, and most of the time after the plantation day no one visits that venue again. It is enough for one person to plant one sapling and look after its growth, quality over quantity always. The number of trees planted does not matter if they are not maintained further to live and transform into a tree. Deforestation has happened with the speed of fire, so again maintaining these plants is a selfish need for human beings. Let us do that religiously for ourselves at least! I have never followed the big plantation drives, but can proudly say have brought it to the notice of my society authorities to take care of the plants after the plantation drive happened. The trees are now big, and my voice was heard!
Following Traffic Rules:
No rocket science, not Everest climbing, as simple as following traffic rules can save so many mishaps. Wearing a helmet, following traffic signals, and trying not to change lanes are very common ones to mention. I shifted to Pune in 2008, and I feel embarrassed and ashamed to confess that every single day I get to hear the ambulance sound, and the majority of the time accident is the reason. I used to feel it was the con of migrating to the city. But over the period I have realized, everyone is in hurry. In a quest to reach on time, these accidents happen. If we manage our time efficiently, plan, and leave ahead of time, we may not have to hurry while driving. And the other perspective is, even if there is some delay, there is nothing as precious as life, so it is okay to be safe than sorry!
The only vehicle I drive is my scooter. As a teenager, I was a rash driver. The art of driving safely is something I have learned from my husband. I won't lie, I have broken a traffic signal at a young age, but from the time I met him, I haven't broken a single signal. In the wee hours, when people hardly follow the signal, at that time also he will be the one standing behind the zebra crossing just because the signal is red.

Volunteering as a Facilitator for the underprivileged:
Being able to read and write, which comes as a basic requirement for an average human being, is a privilege for many yet. I feel happy to see so many organizations coming ahead for this cause. In 2019, I participated in one such camp and had the best experience of my life. This was a part of my son's school's social initiatives. One literate person was assigned to one child from a suburbs rural area, and we used to reach them as per the schedules. I had tears in my eyes when I got to know 4 kids were using a single smartphone just to gain knowledge, as they could not afford 4 different devices. As a bonus from my side, I started reading them stories on weekends. I could not find such an opportunity again, for me visiting the place physically and teaching do not work. If given a chance, I would grab it with open arms!

Treat Community Helpers well:
Social status comes with heavy baggage in Indian Society.
The level of respect given to individuals directly correlates to the work they do. A house help, sweeper, or housekeeping staff in corporate offices is not any less worthy. They do hard work and earn their bread and butter. I do not have the liberty of hiring a house-help, however, I make a point to gift something to the lady who picks up garbage in our society.
I also do not like to be treated inferiorly. I have observed people giving the same lady stale food so that the guild bug (of wasting food) does not hit them. This again is a very wrong tendency, like it will spoil your health, it will work the same on them.
There is a very beautiful song in Marathi, two lines of which say,
"One human should treat another human as a human."
If and only if we practically apply this in our daily lives, then we will be able to make the world a better place to live in.

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