Dear dirty travellers, I will not clean your litter

Photo of Dear dirty travellers, I will not clean your litter by Kirat S
Photo of Dear dirty travellers, I will not clean your litter by Kirat S

Because honestly, it's just not cool.

Pick up your own litter or better still - just don't throw any. Travelling with a group of people who don't understand the concept of cleanliness or worse, travelling with someone who understands it but chooses to ignore it can be a nightmare. Travelling in India can be quite troublesome anyway (in terms of cleanliness) so you really don't want to add to the misery by travelling with someone who has no sense of personal space, self-hygiene and general cleanliness. 

I believe I am extremely tolerant when it comes to hygiene and my list of 'places I have peed in' stands testimony to that. But to accept someone's unhygienic behaviour and habits only because he can't care enough to keep it in check is unfair. So dear dirty traveller, here is why I will NOT clean after you:

1. I am on vacation just as you are

Agreed that you don't care about messy beds, hair on the bed, food on the floor but trust me when you go in for your morning business and I leave my potty in all its glory for you to see - YOU WILL CARE. Not only is this absolutely disgusting, it's an upsetting start to one's day. When two or more people are travelling together, everyone wants to be adjusting (or so I believe) so there are chances that people travelling with you will not tell you anything directly. Should they hint at cleanliness or bring up examples of dirty hostel mates or stinky friends, please get the hint. 

Don't expect anyone to flush for you, so check and double check for any traces for your morning rendezvous, leave the bathroom dry or at least non-slippery. As basic as this may be, cleanliness is the most forgotten part of any vacation and surprisingly one of the most essential. 

2. Couple trouble

This is especially tricky for new couples travelling together! For new couples, the only thing that can save you is honesty! How many times have we heard our parents quarrel about leaving the washroom smelly or mom cribbing about dad's constant farting during TV time? Well, take the hint. Don't wait a long time before telling your partner what is acceptable and what's not. If this is not sorted in the first few trips, it can be the primary cause for cancelled trips.

I know of an ex couple who decided to call it off because the guy insisted on sitting on the bed pillows. The lady in question absolutely despised the idea of sleeping on someone's bum imprints/residue/possible gasses and tried replacing the bed pillows with cushions but all failed. Though the reasons for their breakup could be many, I know for a fact it began with this. 

3. You know it's not okay to litter

You know you can wait for a dustbin and you also know that it's unacceptable and yet you continue to litter. It would be unfair to say that only families with noisy kids throw chocolate wrappers and peanut leftovers in the lake; I have seen umpteen couples, group of friends and lone travellers creating a mess wherever they please. 

If I can find a packet of Uncle Chips flying around in Pangong, I believe I can find it anywhere. The beauty of the lake is so breathtaking that before ruining it anyone would think twice - guess I was wrong. 

So habitual litter-throwers, if you know it's wrong and it's just not cool - please don't do it. And to all the potential litter-throwers, I am telling you right this moment it's unfair to the place your visiting, it's unfair to travellers around you who are trying to keep it clean and to future travellers who will not appreciate this at all (I once slipped on a banana chips packet while trekking in Rishikesh, it wasn't a pretty sight).

P.S: I hate you banana chips person!

4. No one may want to travel with you

I know I don't want to travel with someone who doesn't care about personal hygiene, doesn't care about hygiene issues that make others around him uncomfortable and doesn't care about the land he's walking on. This is true even for passionate travellers; you want to see the beauty of a place, admire its serenity and its myriad colours but you don't want to keep it clean. 

More needs to be done than clucking tongues at the sight of a fellow travelling throwing cigarette butts in the river or at the sad state of cleanliness in an almost unknown village in Himachal. If you don't have any place to dispose the litter, you can always keep it in a spare bag and throw it later. If there are some personal habits you simply can't let go of, let your fellow travellers know in advance. If there are some habits that you are completely unaware of, make an extra effort to be cautious of your personal hygiene.

Imagine sharing a tent with someone who just won't change his socks not due to lack of time or options but simply because "Oh comeon yaar, it's okay" attitude. No yaar, it's not okay. Go change your frigging socks and research on ways to keep your feet from smelling so much. 

So dear dirty traveller, please remember:

1. Washrooms may not have water, may be horribly dirty BEFORE you entered but there is no reason you have to dirty it further by peeing and crapping on the floor. If the washroom is too dirty for you to use but you just NEED to go; try making it easier for the next person. 

2. Some washrooms, especially in trains, have a working flush with ample water. Has soap, a dustbin to throw your tissue papers in so please don't walk out without even trying to flush. If the flush is oh-too-dirty for you to touch, use a tissue paper. 

3. You don't want to see my crap in the morning (or at any time of the day). Well...neither do I. Flush. 

4. We have been friends for 20 years but if I am not okay about smelling your lunch, then please leave the room and fart. I'll love you more (some people really can't take the smell, be considerate).

5. Places don't forget. A bit dramatic, but true. Every wrapper you have thrown, every wall you have spit on, every river you have polluted remembers you. Yes, it's true.

6. Don't make excuses. It's honestly alright to be a little messy, to have a few habits you just can't change but don't be arrogant about it. Accept it and do the best you can to change. 

7. No body wants to flush, clean, mop after you. No, not even your mom. 

Every traveller owes it to fellow travellers and to the myriad places he's visiting to keep it clean. 

P.S: There are no personal pictures to prove the above because no one usually clicks messy rooms and garbage. (Note to self: must collect pictures as a useful guilt trigger).