Lady Macbeth would have approved. UNICEF has roped in Sachin Tendulkar to get children in India to wash their hands more often for better health and hygiene as part of the first ever Global Handwashing Day on October 15.
Yes, you read it right: This year onwards, India will join the world in celebrating a handwashing day, by — my guess is as good as yours — washing hands along with sundry other anatomical parts. Before I’m accused of trivialising an important issue, I’d like to underline the importance of handwashing by quoting Karin Hulshof, the UNICEF Representative in India, who not-so-famously observed, “handwashing with soap will undoubtedly save many children’s lives.”
This column is not about handwashing but the many, many special days in our calender that go by unnoticed. Take last week. Sunday, September 28, was World Heart Day, September 29 was World Psoriasis Day (an autoimmune problem that makes the skin red and scaly) and October 1 was International Day for Older Persons and National Voluntary Blood Donation Day (not to be confused with World Blood Donor Day on June 14).
The week gone by was just the beginning of an eventful month. We’ve just begun the World Space Week (October 4-10), World Teachers Day on October 5 (as opposed to India’s teacher’s day on September 5), World Habitat Day on October 6, International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction on October 8, World Mental Health day and World Sight Day on October 10, World Food Day on 16, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17, UN Day on October 24, and disarmament week from October 24 to 30.
And these are just the UN days. If you count the other days declared by countries and organisations, there will be more than a few overlaps.
I’m told these days help to raise awareness about the issue, but do we really need an international reminder about scaly, red skin? Disclaimer: In saying this, I did not mean to understate the trauma people with psoriasis undergo and am deeply convinced that the condition needs serious scientific and media attention.
The national obsession with cricket, however, will ensure Tendulkar’s clean drive is not a washout.