Monthly Archives: August 2015

Modern Nationalism: Mopping the floor

Recently I came across a viral Facebook post, it narrated the scene at a coffee shop:

So I am sitting at Starbucks yesterday and this group of three executives comes in.
They grab a table which a customer had just vacated.
It was slightly messy with a plate and a cup on it.
These three scream for the staff to clean it and complain loudly about the falling standards of cleanliness. (“Saala Starbucks Bhi KFC ban gaya hai. Itni gandh!”)
They leave about forty minutes later.
Leaving an even bigger mess on the table with plastic cups and bits of pastry.
A young lady takes the table.
She looks like a student and I think she is from Japan because her cap has the Rising Sun on it.
She picks up the plastic cups and throws them into a dustbin.
She then goes over to the counter, takes some tissues and starts cleaning the table.
Some of the staff notice
And run over to her and say that she should not bother. They will clean the table.
She answers:
“No, it is all right. It is my table, no?”

A massive lesson there.

The topmost comment on the post was even better. Why are we Indians like that?

A lesson should be learnt for sure, but the problem is in how we grew up looking at the system. Starting from we being a kid, every time we mad a mess, there was somebody to clean in be it mom or a house maid. I guess not everybody has been taught to even fix our bed after we get up. We need to start from there.

At Gyankriti we believe that teaching Practical Life Skills and Survival Skills along with regular academics is the most important responsibility of any school. Our preschool toddlers are trained to do basic age appropriate skills on their own, it may be buttoning, lacing, dusting or cleaning the floor after eating.

Yeah!! Cleaning and mopping the floor, for toddlers. Isn’t that bit extreme? No, it is not. In fact the children enjoy these activities and repeat on their own at home. There begins the problem because of our conditioned mindset. Some parents don’t like the fact that children are doing these activities at the school. This isn’t something “people like us” are supposed to do, it is the “maid’s job” after all. I am really disheartened when I get these kind of feedbacks from the “young, educated, middle class” audience we serve. School children in Japan clean the school toilets on their own. We don’t even know the name of aaya who cleaned the toilets of our school/office.

At the same time I would like to appreciate a vast majority of our parent community who love these kind of activities and encourage their children. Nationalism in modern time is not about wars or movements. It makes more sense to put efforts in bringing up our children in a way that they make our country proud in the way, the Japanese girl did. PM Narendra Modi started a fantastic Swacch Bharat mission after last year’s Independence Day speech, its success solely depends on our responsible behaviour. Let’s stop saying “यह मेरा काम नहीं है” or “यह काम मेरे level का नहीं है” for a better India.

Happy Independence Day.

जय हिन्द!

Note: The author is Founder-Director of Gyankriti. The views expressed here are personal.

Reproduced from original post on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/modern-nationalism-mopping-floor-yograj-patel