TUI does not have a FAQ page on their website, this is a compilation of some of the Questions answered by TUI on their Facebook page.

Q: I want to do a Spotfix in my city, but do not know where to start and have no support, what do I do?

A:  The Ugly Indian was deeply inspired by how S.R. Rao cleaned up Surat in a matter of months.
His story was beautifully described in the book 'Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen' by Porus Munshi - How 11 Indians Pulled off the Impossible.
The chapter on Rao and Surat is superb and incredibly inspirational.

Listen to the audio clip by Porus Munshi on the groundwork required to do this - uploaded on youtube by TUI

Go through TUI Spotfixing Photos and  TUI Spotfixing Videos.

Start alone - or with 1 friend. Don't try to 'form a team'. Waste of time.Do something simple TODAY - like adopting a tree on your street by pulling off posters from it everyday. Do the same thing for a few days and observe if it makes an impact. Or keep a corner clean by sweeping it everyday at the same time - for a few days. See how people react. Whatever you do, keep at it everyday for a week. Quietly and surely.

Over the week, observe a particular ugly spot (a tree, a corner, a dump) and try to figure out what's going on. Make it your problem to understand why exactly the spot is ugly. Don't assume anything - conclude based on observations.

That's it. Once you start doing these simple, small things, there will be new discoveries everyday. And you will quickly learn 'what it takes'. No amount of online discussion and reading will give you the insights from 1 week of silent observation on the street. Even if it is for 20 mins/day, at different times everyday.

Send us an email at AFTER actually doing something and recording it with photos (before-after). We will gladly support you and suggest ideas. But until you actually go out there and DO something (however small), there is no point having a 'discussion' with anyone (online and offline) - the less talk the better. 

Kaam Chalu Mooh Bandh.


Q: Why is there no guide for spotfixing available on TUI Website?
A: The reason there is no simple "How-To Guide - Fix your street in 5 steps etc" is because it is not that straightforward. While the tasks themselves are simple (painting, digging, sweeping) how and where to use them is crucial if the change is to sustain. It's a bit like learning swimming - it's all in the doing. Like swimming, it's fairly obvious what needs to be done - you simply have to take the plunge, make mistakes, swallow some water, feel fear, come close to giving up, and then finally something works. How quickly you figure it out is upto you - and we'd gladly be the remote mentor or guide. But you have to take that first plunge yourself - however small it is, and see what sustained impact you are able to make - again, however small it is. ~ TUI

Q: Is TUI active in other parts of India?
A: TUI is a small random group of people in Bangalore. There are no 'chapters', there is no formal organisation - our aim is to show that there is hope, and inspire others to start on their own street - whichever city they are in. Look through the 40+ videos on our youtube channel -if any of them provoke you to try something, just go out there and try. ~ TUI

Q: Is TUI made up of Techies as often reported?
A: As the group remains anonymous to each other too, backgrounds and professions are not shared - however, we know that there are artists, autorickshaw-drivers, bankers, cooks, designers, entrepreneurs, film-makers, gardeners, lawyers, homemakers, pilots, security guards , software engineers and senior citizens of all kinds of professional backgrounds. We don't know, we don't ask and it doesn't matter. ~TUI

Q: How does TUI gather support for Spotfixing?
A: TUI has a simple philosophy - if 2 UIs come and start spotfixing on your street and you see them, either you will join them or ignore them. We find that each street has a few people who instinctively understand what this is about and plunge in. It matters not if they are on the internet or not. 3-4 people can transform a street in a matter of hours. That's all it takes. Social media helps attract this core group of 'catalysts' who go and start the work. There is always local support from people passing by, or those who live/work there.

TUI believes that individual actions add up. Only when you actually go and do something (however small) will the right kind of people come forward and support you. We don't believe in group formation - one sincere person attracts other sincere people. The reason you see large groups in our videos is that we are taking on very large challenges, and are somewhat matured as group - but the groundwork is always done by individuals or groups of two. Just focus on a small problem on your street for a start - don't go for the BIG problem. There are no shortcuts, no 'how-to' guides in working in a public space. Go out and try something - when you get stumped, write to us. For a start, adopt a tree today - simply by tearing off all the posters on it and making sure it remains poster-free for a day. ~TUI

Q: How do you ensure these places sustain the Spotfix?
A: We are our own biggest critics. We invite inspection by all members of the public. Every Spot is inspected everyday - as they are 'adopted' by someone - either a nearby shopkeeper, or a paid professional. We have paid professionals walking 12km of footpath everyday to service tereBins and they maintain many of the fixed spots. Our spotfixes are not meant for an online (distant) audience - they provide real solutions to real problems felt by people who live/work in the vicinity, who either take charge of the maintenance of the spots, or call us if something goes wrong. The first WonderLOO was set up on Republic Day - Jan 26, 2010 on Church Street and has functioned every single day without a hitch. One of our WonderLOOs on Residency Rd was vandalized, and replaced by the local community themselves. And they now guard the loos zealously. We will soon publish a map of all spots fixed with photos of Before-After and Today. ~ TUI

Q: How do you decide on a spot to fix?
A: Spots with high visibility. Spots that affect Bangalore's image and hurt those who have a sense of pride about this city. Where a fix improves the quality of life of thousands of people. Ugly spots call out to us - we choose the ones that have maximum impact. We'd like people to fix the street in front of their home, or their localities, while TUI goes after the big public & commercial spaces that nobody cares about. ~ TUI

Q: When a random group of people can achieve SO MUCH with so little effort, limited resources/time why can't our government do at least 10% of this? A: Tough question to give a simple answer to. Here's a take:
TUI focuses on spots and takes ownership of the 'spot'. Each spot is influenced by at least 3-4 govt departments, a private owner and hundreds of Ugly Indians who walk on the streets and take orders from nobody. So if a govt road-building dept does a good job of tarring the road, Reliance or Airtel will dig it up the next day to lay/repair a cable and not repair it. If the govt sweeper does her job by 9am, a dozen private citizens will litter the street at 930am. There is no 'single owner' in charge of a piece of street or footpath or wall - and that is why there is a buck-passing. Everyone does their job and doesn't really care about what the others do or don't do.

 In Bangalore, these are called para-statal bodies (BWSSB, Bescom, BDA) and they are laws unto themselves and not accountable to each other. It is bizarre - if the Garbage department uses a Bescom transformer to collect garbage, there seems to be nothing Bescom can do to stop it. If the Water department digs up the road to lay a line, or repair a leak, the BBMP has no power to get them to repair it. So stuff lies undone and in a constant state of disrepair, and us ugly citizens add to the mess. But the moment someone like TUI takes charge of a spot, liaises with all the govt departments who are part of the spot, plugs the gaps that nobody is willing to do, suddenly everything falls into place.

TUI spots are not random - we pick spots to fix that have maximum intersection of such govt depts - in essence, our spotfixes are projects that nobody wants to take up, or be the owner of. That is why the impact of the spotfix is often very dramatic. So one should not mistake TUI impact with government inefficiency - if there was a street-in-charge 'with authority' to get things done, maybe TUI would not be required. ~TUI

Q: Why TUI does not take some credit  & mention  "Maintained by The Ugly Indian" in their Spotfixes?
A: There is nothing like 'some' credit! Either you take credit or you don't. Today, the city municipality gets credit for what we do, and we think that's ideal. The moment someone sniffs 'money' or 'fame' in this initiative, there will be problems. We have been approached by companies wanting to sponsor tereBins and WonderLOOs in return for advertising, and we have politely declined. We accept adoption requests, esp from companies, if they do so without advertising on the specific object (that would be illegal as we don't have the right to sell advertising in a public space). It sounds counter-intuitive, but anonymity is the BIGGEST strength of the WonderLOO. It gets cleaned every morning, and nobody knows who does that.
PS: TUI takes a fair amount of credit for what it does on this FB page, and that's more than enough! ~ TUI

Q: How much distance your group might have covered by now? And do you have any yearly targets?
A: We solve problems. We don't have targets. It's not about kms. We are optimists and believe that there is hope. ~ TUI

Q: So one day you hope we will all wake up to a cleaner road, neighborhood, city ?
A: Not 'one day'. Today. There are many people who woke up to a cleaner road today and do so everyday because they took the trouble to fix it. That's what this is about - each one of us taking ownership of the road in front of our home/apartment/office, and not waiting for the government, a neighbour or TUI to come and fix it. It is a simple idea - and those who get it, are enjoying the fruits of their labours in ways nobody else can fully appreciate. ~ TUI

Q: How long will the "fixed spots" remain fixed?
A: 'Fixing' includes post-fix maintenance. A fix is considered a success ONLY if it survives for 90 days, and makes a permanent change in behaviour of all stakeholders. The act of spotfixing is only one part of the process - there is considerable Pre-fix planning and Post-Fix maintenance required for success.
These are not symbolic acts or social events. Those who share the pain come together to sensibly solve a common problem for the greater good - carrying along all stakeholders. ~ TUI

Q: How can I contribute to improve my own surroundings?
A: Start small. Start on your own street. See what it takes to make a small difference and things will then happen naturally. Pick any issue that troubles you personally and try to fix it.
See the 50+ videos on TUI youtube channel and the Photo Gallery here on FB for ideas on what has worked. The TUI experience has been like that - a few people started small and likeminded people either joined in or started on their own.
This is a bottom-up, inside-out Do-it-Yourself initiative - each of us Ugly Indians can decide how best to make a difference to our street.
Just worry about your street. Whichever city you are in. This is like swimming. You HAVE to jump into the water first, and then figure your way out. A coach is only useful once you have taken the first plunge~ TUI

Q: Why do men urinate on the walls, and not go in search of toilets?
A: If out of 100 men walking on a street, 5 men urinate on the road and 95 don't - the street stinks and everyone gets blamed. It takes just one man's urine that lies about and evaporates off a granite/stone footpath/wall to create a stench for 20 ft. Esp if it is never cleaned. So the next man chooses a spot a little down the road...and so the entire stretch becomes a mess very soon.
It takes just 5 men and the sun (which makes urine give off ammonia fumes) to create a stink. What the WonderLOO does is to attracts men to all urinate on the same spot - thus saving the wall.

Those of us who have generally have access to decent toilets at home/office may not use the walls - but we should not forget that a large percentage of our population don't have decent toilets at home either, so using the walls isn't exactly seen as anything out-of-place.

There are many men who do not feel comfortable walking into malls and pizzerias to use the loo. In fact, employees of many such stores don't get access to customer loos and use the Wonderloo on church street. Also security guards. There is a large 'invisible' population on our streets (incl auto drivers, bus drivers, vendors, ragpickers, parking attendants etc) who need to work on the street all day and have no bathroom access. This is a class issue as well, and these are harsh realities in India. The bosses and establishment take care of their needs and leave the others to fend for themselves. ~ TUI

Q: I am trying to spotfix all alone with not much support or noticeable results, what do I do?
A: One person with determination can change the world. Take on small achievable tasks and do them diligently. These things take time - solving the root cause always helps. Give it time, things will reach a tipping point and you will finally win. ~TUI

Q: Can we collaborate with TUI and work together?
A: TUI is not a formal organisation - it is an 'idea' whose only objective is to inspire and show the way. Anyone who thinks they are an Ugly Indian can (and should) go out and do a spotfix on their own street - and if the results are seen as inspirational, they will be featured on our FB page.
TUI is not capable of formally collaborating with anyone - it is a random collection of individuals doing their own thing and reporting back to FB page!

Every spotfix of TUI is preceded by weeks of background research, homework and relationship building by a local experienced 'spot owner', the spotfix is simply a 3-hr managed and planned event, that is followed again by weeks of fine-tuning and follow-up and finally a 'transfer' to a local stakeholder. Each spotfix alters the local environment permanently and needs time to fructify and sustain - so we plan our spotfixes slowly and surely. We are not yet at the point where we can 'scale', and we are in no hurry either. Better to get it right and give it the time it takes, than to run too fast and trip. ~TUI

Q: How do you manage to move the illegal vendors/auto rickshaw stands on pavements? Do you move them or try to work around them?
A: We treat all stakeholders as part of the solution. We try our best not to tread on anyone's toes, nor make anyone lose their livelihood. We work WITH the autodrivers and vendors and don't interfere with the legality of what they do. Even in the case of telecom companies and banks who illegally deface our roads and walls we simply solve the problem and do not file complaints. Kaam Chalu Mooh Bandh. ~TUI

Q:  Is it not equally important to get the reposible people punished ? It is practically impossible to keep fixing all such problems.
A: It all depends which is easier - getting responsible people punished or fixing your own street. Our view is - do whatever works. But take the time and trouble to do it.

TUI is a do-it-yourself initiative. We have NEVER met any corporator or councillor or elected representative, and ALL the SpotFixes done have been by the public themselves with support from lower-level civic officials (sweepers, garbage workers, electricity linemen, water valvemen, telephone engineers etc). We have no experience in complaining to 'higher authorities' and getting work done. We just go out and do it. ~ TUI

Q:  Why is the garbage and filth always around a Transformer?
A: Because nobody objects, and BESCOM does not have the means to police it, or clean it. "Garbage, like water, always finds its own level and collects at the point of least resistance".
And there has to be a transformer every 50 metres, which is also the maximum distance someone will walk to dump garbage just out of sight of their homes.
If we simply fix all the spots outside BESCOM transformers, a large part of the 'visible garbage' problem will be solved. ~ TUI

Q: How can the garbage dumping problem be addressed in Bangalore? Can we request the city to provide public garbage bins?
A:  No, that is the point. The city wants people to make it their problem to hand over garbage directly to the pickup truck. And 90% of the people do it. It's the balance 10% who cannot adjust their dumping schedule to the city's clearance sche...dule. By law you can be fined for dumping on the street - of course, that is not enforced. Most of our civic problems are because the 'public' (ie you and I) are not self-regulating and enforcement is weak. One of our missions in The Ugly Indian is to be a self-regulator for the 'public' - if 100% of the public followed the rules (whether it is garbage, traffic or pollution), you will find that our existing systems and governemt is actually quite good and efficient. ~ TUI A: We have studied the impact of these paintings. Most of them are on walls in congested commercial areas (bus stations/market areas/flyovers) and they have had a huge positive impact. The government deserves full credit for this initiative ~ TUI

Q: The dustbins are empty and the garbage scattered around them, what do I do?
A:  Adopt any 1 bin. Clean the area around it, clean the bin, and spend time watching how people use it, if the approach path to the bin is clean. If any garbage falls outside, put it in the bin immediately. In our experience, a clean and maintained bin is used well. Try it and tell us what you find. And importantly - be polite to people. In case they throw garbage outside the bin, ask them to use the bin. Or better still, do it yourself while they are watching. Remember - the people who use this bin, do so everyday. It is a habit. It doesn't take much to convert this daily habit into a positive one - with a few polite nudges. ~ TUI

Q: What is the game plan when one encounters 'rowdy elements' while trying to raze down ubiquitous "gigantic egotistical billboards/banner of nobodys ? 
A: Read the About Us section on our website. We don't tread on anyone's toes, and we never do anything illegal or confrontational. They may be nobodys to you, but not to their supporters - they may well have (formal/informal) permission to put up the billboard. Working in the public space involves 'negotiations' - any extreme action can provoke an extreme reaction.
The 'us' and 'them' approach never works - esp in the public space. Even 'rowdy elements' are, after all, disadvantaged youth who can be... reasonable - if you don't mess with their livelihood. ALL our spotfixes that have sustained have involved carrying along ALL stakeholders - many of whom are street dwellers who are routinely picked up by the police for petty offences and technically classified as 'rowdies'.  ~TUI

Q: I have a spot in mind and need a brigade of people to clean \it up and maintain, how do I do it?
A: TUI is very much a Do-It-Yourself initiative. Many of the projects have been done by individuals, or small groups of 2-3. Others join in when they see the first group doing something. Don't let the videos of 30-40 people working together distract you - much of the planning and testing is done by small groups (of 1-3 people) before a large group steps in. If you feel very strongly about it, why don't YOU adopt a small section of the area - and ensure it remains clean. Start small - start with a small corner, or a 10-feet stretch if needed, and try and see 'what it takes to keep it clean'. This is how TUI has approached every project it has taken on. Once you take ownership, you will find the way to keep it clean. ~ TUI

Q: Who funds TUI Projects?
A : "TUI never asks for money from those who 'benefit'. TUI is self-funded - only those who feel the pain and come out to work are allowed to contribute to the costs. Or those 'beneficiaires' who volunteer to contribute. Once you stop expecting people to contribute, and focus on getting the job done by those who want to, things get easy. Life's like that. In economics, it's called the 'tragedy of the commons'. It needs someone to take that first step for 'the greater good'. ~ TUI

Q:  I can't quite understand what painting the trees achieves? And are these non-toxic environmentally friendly paints being used?
A: "It provides a sense of order, and deters people from stapling posters and dumping garbage. These trees are disrespected as there is no perceived sense of 'ownership'. We find that painting trees sends out the message that somebody cares about them. And yes - these are safe water based paints, that help prevent a lot more harmful and violent acts on the trees (esp burning of garbage next to them)" ~TUI

....more Q&A will be added periodically, any questions you have, please ask them on Facebook

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