16 October 2009

Life Style and earth

When We were growing up, my parents used cloth bags to go to the market, canvas bags to carry books to school, cloth instead of kitchen tissues (my mother did not know what kitchen tissue is) in the kitchen, reused tins to grow herbs and plants, used vines of certain plants as scrubbers.

Fullers earth (multani mithi) for a facial, leaves of hibiscus plants for a hair shampoo, earthen wares to cook, recycle old bedsheets into pillow covers, use an earthern pot to cool water, drink sugar cane juice to quench our thirst come summer instead of carbonated drinks, handwash clothes instead of a washing maching, make washing soap, use pestle and mortar to grind until the magic of an electric grinder was found, eat whole grains and use 100% whole grain flour for making chappatis(flat bread), reuse milk plastic bags to store leftovers, have seasonal vegetables and fruits and used ceiling fans to circulate the breeze.

Walking,cycling and public transportation was a way of life.
Food was for the plate and the left overs were not for the trash.
Cakes, Biscuits, Ice cream and Meat was a luxury.

We slept on woven bamboo mats /cotton/coir mattress and had 2 shelves of clothes. The furniture was made of solid wood and they are still strong after 3 decades even when all of us have tested our strength on them. This and so much more.

We lived large in a small space..700 sq feet to be exact.

We did all this, because that was the best way of doing things and those were the only options. ..That was the only way we knew.

Now As I have my own family - I still buy used items, and recycle furniture. Baking soda,and vinegar is used generously for cleaning. I still hand wash my cotton and linen clothes and dry them at night when the heater is turned on during winter and dry them on the line during summer.

But I still have to use a washing machine because shower areas are not convenient enough to wash many clothes at a time.We still hand wash dishes and use libraries vigorously, Use energy star appliances and a pressure cooker for cooking, try and eat seasonal food. I use lunch boxes and not brown bags. Walk and use public transportation. Car is only used for places where we cannot access without public transportation.

I enjoy being in the midst of trees and now go hiking more frequently.

Our added baggage - Computers, cell phones, TV, a car. I need to unplug them when not in use. I am still persuading my Greek grocer to sell his earthen ware (in which he cooks his stuffed grape leaves )to me. There is room for progress, but I am happy with what I am doing..

Edited to add on 10/17/09:

A Note to the Political leaders:
Slow and steady emission of poisonous gases due to the consumption of plastic, oil and gas will make this earth hell on earth. And Our kids will ask us "Why didn't you do something" ?

On a global level Countries wouldn't agree on a commmon level of emissions, therefore laws without loopholes should be made so that nobody will escape. And that includes YOU. Will you frame such policies at the cost of receiving campaign funds from Industries who will compromise to increase production?

Is your seat in the senate more worthy than trying to save the earth? Trying to achieve a balance between political ambitions, who elected you to serve as leaders and to look after the welfare of the earth which you are equally responsible is challenging, but doable.

You can choose your pick - you can be known as the leader of climate change that helped to decrease carbon emissions or go down in history as gluttonous, greedy and a conspirant in the destruction of the earth.

19 comments:

Pangala Nagendra Rao said...

Anrosh,You brought whole of our childhood back again. How close were our parents to nature and nature loving and caring was in their blood only. It may be because of lack of options and opportunities but still the ways adopted was really ideal one.I think we need look back and have lot many things to earn learn from those lived. The shift from middle class family to upper middle class and then to upper class is where the people forget the right way of life but always try to copy and adopt the things without thinking about it. Great article and very well written.
Good is that in back home in my native place in a village we are stick to roots only.

Vinod_Sharma said...

How times have changed in so short a time for some...many are still remain where you were 30 years ago. Nice trip down memory lane.

BK Chowla said...

Those were the good old days.Times have now changed.We are now under,social,economic,and professional pressures and technology is catching up ,whereas the time in hours is the same as before.

pink dogwood said...

I love this post :)

Perovskia said...

I really liked this post :)

indianhomemaker said...

Beautifully described Anrosh!

We still do many of these! No dish washer (but the maid does the dishes), AC use is limited to bedrooms, and plastic is quite a no-no. I also love hibiscus leaves and multani mitti, natural scrubbers, cloth and canvas bags, love the idea of reusing (or giving to the needy to reuse in anyway they like) ... but some changes are a blessing Anrosh. I feel we can cut down on the use of electricity - and on fire crackers, and plastic, and stuff like leaving decorative lights on month long... but some of these gadgets have been a blessing for the person who uses them - often women. We also live longer and healthier now, because these gadgets have improved the quality of life...

I love hiking too!

Happy Kitten said...

Anrosh.. a great reminder of those days... and some of us still continue that way..and as IHM commented some of the gadgets are a blessing to the multitasking homekeepers... yet we can all do our part...

but most of our earlier practices were healthier, even the household tasks...it was a substitute for today's Gyms and excercising machines :)

Deeps said...

Hard hitting,Anrosh! You've touched upon almost all the concerns that need to addressed with reference to climate change.

Beautifully written.
Kudos!

I wish a positive change comes thru soon

manju said...

Nice post- and great description of life in earlier days.

Things have not changed as much as you would think in the vilages though.

My friends and I used to wash our hair with soapnuts when we were in school.:)

Anrosh said...

manju - what do you call soapnuts in marathi. i think i have used that too, but cannot remember.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

beautiful post anrosh. oft thought but never so well expressed.

back here in india, where people live in houses(villas as they are referred to now, as against flats), mant of these old practices are continued. When tissues and bounty papers are given by nri relatives, they are kept for special purposes. a lot of us use chatty(clay pots) and black iron wok(cheena[china] chatti as they are called in malayalam)for most of our cooking.

old habits die hard - if they can be possibly preserved.

Anrosh said...

rao, you bet - indian villages practise sustainability - there is much to be learnt from them.

vinod, change for the better is always good.

you got that right BKC - time in hours have always remained the same.

pink dogwood, perovskia, - thankyou.

ihm - yes, somethings have been a blessing.

happy kitten - that was what my mom used to say - do house work than jumping and running all about town - have you noticed some of the domestic help - they are toned so beautifully and with a flat stomach - it is all that bending and twisting and turning to clean those nooks and cranies

deeps, hard hitting ? - the note to the politicians ? - do they know any other way.

kpj - here there has been a revival of cast iron pans and i have seen clay pie pans and roasting pans ( they do cost a bombshell). And the secret to tasty food is cooking in these clay pans.

i am waiting for my greek grocer to open his heart. every time i drop in i eye his clay pots and one day i hope he will sell it to me. he can get more on his next trip to greece.

Anrosh said...

rao, you bet - indian villages practise sustainability - there is much to be learnt from them.

vinod, change for the better is always good.

you got that right BKC - time in hours have always remained the same.

pink dogwood, perovskia, - thankyou.

ihm - yes, somethings have been a blessing.

happy kitten - that was what my mom used to say - do house work than jumping and running all about town - have you noticed some of the domestic help - they are toned so beautifully and with a flat stomach - it is all that bending and twisting and turning to clean those nooks and cranies

deeps, hard hitting ? - the note to the politicians ? - do they know any other way.

kpj - here there has been a revival of cast iron pans and i have seen clay pie pans and roasting pans ( they do cost a bombshell). And the secret to tasty food is cooking in these clay pans.

i am waiting for my greek grocer to open his heart. every time i drop in i eye his clay pots and one day i hope he will sell it to me. he can get more on his next trip to greece.

Anrosh said...

rao, you bet - indian villages practise sustainability - there is much to be learnt from them.

vinod, change for the better is always good.

you got that right BKC - time in hours have always remained the same.

pink dogwood, perovskia, - thankyou.

ihm - yes, somethings have been a blessing.

happy kitten - that was what my mom used to say - do house work than jumping and running all about town - have you noticed some of the domestic help - they are toned so beautifully and with a flat stomach - it is all that bending and twisting and turning to clean those nooks and cranies

deeps, hard hitting ? - the note to the politicians ? - do they know any other way.

kpj - here there has been a revival of cast iron pans and i have seen clay pie pans and roasting pans ( they do cost a bombshell). And the secret to tasty food is cooking in these clay pans.

i am waiting for my greek grocer to open his heart. every time i drop in i eye his clay pots and one day i hope he will sell it to me. he can get more on his next trip to greece.

manju said...

Soapnuts are called Rithe in Marathi. They are about half an inch diameter and can be used whole or crushed.

Some girls used to soak them in hot water for some time beforehand.

Anrosh said...

manju, thanks - i have done it too. soaked and used the water to wash the hair. thanks for the name. i'll have to find if they have that in any indian store here.

J P Joshi said...

A very fine post. Life is a full circle... environmentalists say that we are in for trouble if we donot mend our ways soon.... maybe we will back to the stone age but not in my lifetime though.

We all need to be conscious of the environmental degradation that our actions are doing... because we have inherited this planet from our elders in trust ... that we may pass it on in the same, or better shape to our next generation.

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