Satan thumped down onto the floor with a sigh.
“What a tragedy”, he said. “I really need to update my list of sins.”
“Why?” asked God, concerned.
“Modern Indian sinners are forcing my hand!” Satan looked like he was about to cry. “Here I was, happily surrounded by the screeches of tortured souls, when Buzzfeed told me that my 7 Ways to Sin list was inadequate. At least one more kind of sinner is running rampant on Earth, look!”
And on his Hellaptop he zoomed in on a GoogleEarth image of a local park in Kolkata.
“The litterbug!” he announced dramatically.
“What?” God looked puzzled, “I only see perfectly nice innocent people enjoying a winter afternoon in the-”
“LOOK!” Satan yelled, “THERE! That little girl with the adorable pigtails and her mum in the fashionable coat!”
“What about them?!” asked God, startled.
“Don’t you see it? They dropped their food wrappers right there on the grass!”
“And look! That nice old granddad who just threw the banana peel right next to his bench- and the jogger slipped on it and crashed to the ground! And there! That autowalah spat out of the moving vehicle, and the paan-filled contents flew onto the foot of his passenger! And in the buildings! The elegant businessman who ate the tiffin his mother packed for him- and threw the haldi-stained newspaper out of his office window! And the sweeper who emptied the trashcan on the road!”
“Okay, okay,” God patted his arm soothingly. “I get what you mean. But why pay any heed to them? Surely they’re not causing enough harm to- “
“Not causing enough harm? They’re defiling the very earth they live on! Did you know that they have entire mountains of such litter on every street corner? Rivers of litter clogging water and animal life? Deserts of polluted land filled with the very litter they disdain? And this in spite of dustbins every few feet!” Satan’s eyes popped in outrage. “Even I have the honour not to spoil the beautiful burning landscapes of Hell!”
“I see,” said God thoughtfully. “So what will you do about it?”
“I already did,” Satan pointed at his screen. Seconds later, a pale young man stumbled into the room, trying to throw his soft-drink can onto the floor.
“Oh no you don’t!” Satan roared & pounced. “No one fills the primrose way to my everlasting bonfire with potato peels and used earbuds! The Great Indian Litterbug is now officially Modern Sinner Number One, as indeed they should have been decades ago!”
And with that, he threw the man unceremoniously into the fieriest pit of Hell.
“Oh dear,” God sighed. “I was planning to bring that one to the Garden of Eden.”
“With all that clean space around?” Satan scoffed. “He’d fill it with chewing-gum wrappers in a day.”
“He could do that here too,” God pointed out.
“Oh, no”, Satan replied grimly, as Hellfire burnt on around him, “We incinerate the litter around here, you see.”
With yet more thanks to Sananda Gopalkrishna for my yet more incessant whining, and Anirban Saha who has the patience to put up with the Great Indian Non-communicator aka me.
This was written as an entry under The Great Indian Litterbug series by the Times of India. People. DON’T. LITTER.