The streetlights were still on when the sun rose, lighting up the peaceful Calicut city only beginning to awaken from its slumber. The Kozhikode Beach witnessed a higher turnout of visitors than the usual weekends. Especially today, when people had something more than a casual hang-around idea in mind. Most of them were here for a purpose, with a resolve to transform the arena. They were here to clean the city and show their respect to dear Bapu.
It is the second day of October, the day that reminds us of the greatest man on Earth who couldn't rest until he saw goodness reap in every corner of Earth. This day saw the nation holding hands in integrity, for the better good of the society. This day, not only India, but the world bowed to Mahathma Gandhi, the man who became the change he wished to see in the world.
And today, the natives of Calicut had gathered at different places for a cleaning drive, for every man in the city was entitled to its cleanliness. Their smartphones and laptops were going to be disappointed, for they would be inactive all day. This time, the people were going to be active, and not the phones.
The daily morning walkers passed right past the quarters across the Beach, expecting to see the usual mountain of garbage near its entrance which had become its landmark. But today, they saw something new. Masked men holding sacks and sticks dotted the place. Some of them brought in shovels and buckets. After all this time, the residents had decided to clear it themselves, why wait for the rag pickers who might never show up?
And for once, the quarters saw real togetherness among their residents., united with brooms (mind you, we're not talking about AAP). People from every block came out with their tools. There was a lot of swishing and sweeping, picking and poking, scrounging and brushing until the mountain was brought down and replaced with natural manured soil. The land was then embed with small plants, and a sign that read, "Please do not throw waste here".
By the end of the admirably exhausting effort put forth by the neighborhood, the ladies had prepared a lovely lunch for everyone. As the men, women and children gathered together for the lunch, they had had their reward. Nope, not the lunch (although one wouldn't deny that the ladies had done a stunning job), but what was more worth was the real togetherness that they got to have. The profuse sweating that spoke of the volumes of hard work, the taste of the food that explained all the love put into making it, those smiles on everybody's faces that could beat everything else they could possibly have.
Yes, Real Togetherness is the best reward for their effort. Why, they had made a pact with mother earth as well, all along in the presence of Bapu in their hearts. And from the next day on, the morning walkers had a surprise, with the garbage landmark being replaced by a garden.
Such is the story of this quarters. Maybe the same happens elsewhere too. Here's a video of a similar incident of Kissanpur discovering real togetherness.