Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ours is an economy based on recycling....has been since Time Immemorial perhaps. Can any of us not recall the friendly neighborhood pastiwalla taking away loads every month, the give aways to servants et all, the turning of leftovers into a paratha or a pulao?
But now...the times, they are changing. Instead of handing down clothes to servants and putting the rest into a box for the annual collection drives for flood affected and disaster driven refugees, today's mems' response to the collection drives is to send driverji into the market to purchase a load of cheap clothes and bedsheets etc......"how will it look ( to my husband's boss' wife...or whoever) if I take my old bedsheets to the collection center?"
Regular hand-me-downs of expensive outfits then spoil their own servants silly and cause frequent railings against servants getting bloated egos.
The disaster affected have gotten so used to getting brand new stuffs, I am told, many reject used clothes, or old towels and sturdy floor cushion covers which could do duty to save soft bottoms from the hard floor of the refugee camps in municipal schools or wherever.
Even as professional pasti wallas find newer and newer ways of recycling, it goes out of fashion at the household level where instead of newspaper in the waste box, plastic bags are used because it is so convenient to just take out the plastic bag and chuck it out!!
At others levels, necessity is still the mother of invention. I read recently that cassettes are being purchased to use the zinc in them for polishing leather, while in many parts of north India, old washing machines do duty to churn butter out of milk and make lassi; a typewriter puts old people to sleep in a Goan old age home, old buses are converted into chic restaurants, juice cans are painted to do duty as pencil or lamp holders and in many villages, discarded cycle tyres are converted into sturdy sandals and slippers.
Anyone cares to add to this little list?

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