Smiles , more smiles which greets me. I am in main X road at Naubad in Bidar. It is 700kms from Bangalore , takes a 14 hr train journey from my luru. (train stops almost an hour at Vikarabad to change direction of engine, while you can enjoy hot idli and wada).
It is about 315 pm , its quite sunny although it was pretty cold when I landed by morning train. I am walking with Devappa, project coordinator. Shankar who is the supervisor is in front. Further ahead is a slim green mini pickup truck driven by Mallikarjuna. ( please tell me if this is the right description for this vehicle )The horn blaring and Ramesh is shouting kasa kasa ( garbage in Kannada).
Then I see the smiles from shopkeepers, hotels, tea shops , fruit sellers. Blue dustbins, cane baskets, cardboard boxes almost 2 per shop . One with food waste, the other with paper, packaging etc . One goes to white bag , food waste goes to blue bins in truck. There is a sense of gratitude amongst them for folks in truck who are collecting their segregated waste.
Shankar chides some of shops for garbage strewn outside their shops He asks them to clean and put garbage bins. Both sides know there is as much one can do keep one’s city clean. But every drop counts.
While walking back , devappa tells me if only we had more support from Municipality , streets would be cleaner. We reach back to guest house and we spot article in local newspaper. A local politician visited the landfill ( more appropriately garbage dump site which smoulders, can cause fainting and pollutes water underground) and assures the protesting villagers that they will set up a plant to process this waste within a week.
This is just a glimpse in a day at project which is implemented by Saahas NGO with funding from Deccan Heritage foundation and Nestle. It is part of larger project,for which we are seeking funds. It aims to improve the water flow in karez, an underground ancient water canal and develop the overall area to attract more people visit this forgotten piece of history.
In my return journey , in a semi full compartment, I realise that seeing all these people working together for their city. The meaning of my work dawns on me.