(To be read in ‘The city of Townsville‘ tone from Powerpuff Girls)
The city of Bengaluru…
Was in serious serious trouble,
Paan stains here, plastic bags there, piled-up garbage everywhere…
But a few secret ninjas decided to pick up their brooms, mask their faces andscrub the city clean.
And so the day was saved. Thanks to The Ugly Indians.
ta ta tadada ta ta (cue victory music)
The Ugly Indian came into existence way before we started talking about ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ and ‘cleanliness drives’, in November 2010. And boy, are they cool!
Here’s why we think they’re doing some badass things society instead of lifting up the bottoms of their pants and holding handkerchiefs to their noses around dirty places.
WHAT’S IN THE NAME?
TUI thinks it’s high time we admit to ourselves that we’re ugly. Our civic sense is that of a 3-year old toddler who wants to play with toys and leave them lying around. They’ve chosen to use the fingers we use to point at the system, to paint lamp posts and wipe paan stains off walls.
It’s with this sense of acceptance and ownership that they’ve now brilliantly beautified Bengaluru, one ugly street at a time. And shall we add, without receiving funding from any big names.
KAAM CHALU MOOH BANDH
This mantra literally means “All work. No talk”.
No small talk, no noisy debates, no talking about how this is adding more meaning to their lives, no asking around for participation. They arrange for a spot fix (that’s what they call the cleaning sessions), meet-up, grab brooms, do their job and get out.
We bet watching them work is inspirational and contagious. Has to be! TUI gets immense support from volunteers for their spot fixes regularly.
Looking at their Facebook ‘before and after’ updates itself is super inspiring!
P.S – The admin replies to all relevant comments.
THE ANAMIK NAGRIK
Move over, Batman. We’ve got a new badass on the block!
The founders have always wanted to keep their identity a secret. You don’t know their comments on Rahul Gandhi, or what they think about the whole intolerance debate or whether they’re atheists or what their personal lives are like. What could you possibly criticize? Pretty cool, eh? This way the focus stays on the deed and not the doer.
When we tried to get in touch with them, they responded via email saying, “Nobody is authorized to speak on behalf of TUI, no interviews are given, and no names/numbers are shared. Anonymity is everything. Let the actions do the talking – all work done is published on Facebook.
Word! This guy even gave a TEDTalk in a mask!
PARTNERING WITH THE GOVERNMENT
You know that John F. Kennedy quote that we’re guilty of using in every possible project “Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country”?
Well, these guys are actually applying it.
They have partnered with the government of Karnataka and implemented a few projects with their support.
Their latest project, called UFO (under the flyover), was to do up the Bhadrappa Layout flyover in Bengaluru. Over a hundred civic-minded citizen volunteers and BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike) personnel came together to spot-fix it and don the pillars with beautiful 3D pyramid designs.
Bengaluru’s future sure looks bright, shiny and colourful.
Clearly we are huge fans! And so is Big B, by the way. Here’s what he had to say about them.
How about we all pick a dirty lane around our house and arrange for this simple yet genius concept of collective waste management?
And if you’re in Bengaluru, go on to their Facebook page, get inspired and add your name to their list of volunteers.