28 Nov 2010, Wayanad
Who would have thought that cleaning would be so much fun? On “Clean Sunday,” the fourth Sunday of November 2010, a diverse group of Amma’s devotees hit the roads of Mananthavady to remove trash. It was a mixed group of people from all walks of life and all ages-from greybeards to four year olds. It included one lone western woman and two doctors from Amma’s hospital in Kalpetta as “special guests.” Usually special guests get a flower bouquet, but in this case we got a cap and pair of rubber gloves!
All the cleaners set out sporting white Amala Bharatam caps and wearing gloves. It was a perfect morning to pick up trash, sunny, but not too hot. Everyone shouted and laughed as they picked up every variety of waste, dumped it into sacks and then into a colorful truck loaned by the local Panchayat.
As I walked along I thought over Brahmachari Akshayamrita’s words as he launched the morning’s clean-up. He said, “This is a Guru seva. We are obeying Amma’s request. Amma is giving us a chance to learn to see the earth as the Divine Mother. Amma’s main intention is to clean our minds as well as the roadside. We should make this karma (work) into a karma yoga.”
The group attracted quite a lot of attention from passersby as we dumped a mounting quantity of trash into the truck. Both cows and people watched as we cleaned up their neighborhood. We could only hope they would think twice before littering in the future.
By one in the afternoon we had achieved our target area to clean for this day. Most of the group adjourned to the Mananthavady Amrita Vidyalayam to eat lunch. A month ago this had been the scene of the kick off of ABC in the Wayanad. The students had been educated about the use of handkerchiefs and how using them can reduce illness. They were issued handkerchiefs and promised to use them.
Additionally, 1000 people with one goal in mind- a clean Kerala, converged on a famous scenic overlook on the 9th hairpin turn outside Kalpetta and thoroughly cleaned it and the roadside on both sides of the overlook. Students from the Amrita Vidyalayam and the Veterinary College participated wholeheartedly. Everyone was very happy with the way Mother Nature looked after the cleanup and nature seemed to be smiling along with the cleaners.
On this clean-up day, a light rain fell as everyone ate a simple lunch of kanji and curry and then dispersed. Everyone was smiling and happy and hated to part. Working together seemed to have made everyone “high.” And was it my imagination or did I really feel cleaner myself?