Packaging pollution: Taco Bell, can you reduce the burden on Mandur?

taco4

Food overloaded with fat can be a put-off especially when all you want is a bowl of salad and a bigger bowl of soup on a rainy afternoon. With those very few relatively healthier eating options shutting shops one after another in Mantri Mall, I had no other go but to drag my friend to Taco Bell for a fill yesterday. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-7: Large-scale effort, large-scale failure as vermicompost experiment #1 goes haywire

Pic source: ca.safestb2b.com

Pic: ca.safestb2b.com

Any experiment diligently executed can fail due to some silliest of the mistakes, mid-way.

Soaring mid-April temperatures called for frequent watering to ensure proper moisture levels in the bed. The roof laid with plastic sheets was emitting a lot of heat inside the compost room. As advised by the expert, we sprinkled a few buckets of extra water on the bed, shut it with the lids. Continue reading

Pains of parenting amidst Vibgyor School rape incident & the like

Pic source: TOI

Pic source: TOI

So, it began all over again this morning. A “how to keep yourself safe from marauding rapists” session with my little girl.

I cannot define what the crime is in the four-letter word, no definitive answer to “why are you telling me this?” one-liners, can’t answer all her “whys?” each time I hold a ‘good touch and bad touch’ session, and cannot suppress the gut-wrenching pain when she starts giggling each time I tell her where strangers are not supposed to touch her. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-6: Low-cost infrastructure needed for large-scale vermicomposting

Adults and children in our apartment on a worm-sprinkling spree...

Adults and children in our apartment on a worm-sprinkling spree…

Building cement tanks for vermicomposting involves no rocket science. With some common sense, you can have them built with a local mason at a low cost. Involving an architect means two things: the cost goes up 3-4 times and they may come up with suggestions without having the basic knowledge about vermicompost. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-5: Choosing the right composting method for your community

Housekeepers sieving the compost prepared from kitchen waste.

Housekeepers sieving the compost prepared from kitchen waste.

There’s reams of data on the internet on various composting methods written quite beautifully by green enthusiasts worldwide. However, after wading my way through this maze of information and sending distress calls and emails to local compost experts, this is where it stands: It’s all theory until you do it yourself. The reason: Case studies offering crucial information on how to go about it at a community level, particularly in India, which can help you evolve contextually were few and far between. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-4: Just compost it, dammit!

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

Kitchen waste composting in progress.

Kitchen waste composting in progress.

Isn’t everything that rots beautiful?

If this thought makes you cringe, then that’s probably the first hurdle you need to cross. Because when it comes to composting, there is more to unlearn than to learn. Continue reading

Massive beehive built in 8 minutes: A gift on World Environment Day?

IMG_20131026_072702The buzz started at around 2 pm yesterday with a just few bees. In the next couple of minutes, the swarm grew bigger and bigger and the bees started piling up on each other. Eight minutes of manic activity, this massive beehive took the shape of black icicles and then, everything went silent. Continue reading

Sobha Althea-Azalea: Mandur crisis affects us, but just a little

Giving back to where it belongs: All the kitchen waste and garden waste is turned into rich organic manure and given back to where it belongs.

Giving back to where it belongs: All the kitchen waste and garden waste is turned into rich organic manure and given back to where it belongs.

Going by the media reports, the Karnataka government certainly doesn’t have a solution in sight for the Mandur landfill crisis. No government wants to drag a reluctant multitude towards a safe future by roiling up the system and suffer the drubbing during elections. Better safe than sorry, right?

Amidst such a sordid state of affairs, I feel immensely proud to congratulate the residents of Sobha Althea-Azalea, Yelahanka, for achieving multiple milestones in just two years. Continue reading

Mandur landfill crisis revisits: Luxury of peacetime over, let’s stop being deliberately callous

The reality in Mandur. (Pic: The Hindu)

The reality in Mandur. (Pic: The Hindu)

Recently, I made an early-morning trip to some nurseries around Lalbagh with a friend to buy plants for our apartment garden. By forenoon, we had done most of our work but couldn’t resist the desire to step into yet another large nursery studded with beautiful succulents. As we went around enjoying the fragrance of those green little beauties, especially gardenias, the nursery staff got busy loading the green ‘waste’ into a BBMP vehicle. Some 4-5 workers went on feeding the truck for at least an hour.

When we asked, they said it was headed to Mandur landfill. Continue reading

Katra gangrape & murder: Open defecation is only the proscenium. Gory scenes are on the backstage.

WTD

The recent gangrape and ‘murder’ of two teenage Dalit girls in Katra in Uttar Pradesh allegedly by upper caste men spews out multiple questions. To attribute the entire tragedy to open defecation alone would mean refusing to see the issue in its eye. Stubborn patriarchy, dehumanising caste system, honour killing of innocent victims (the hush-hush allegation amongst the villagers who think there couldn’t have been a better end to the girls’ lives) and everything else that finds it normal to let half of its human race out to defecate…

What a magnificent desolation India has turned itself into! Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-3: It begins with waste management. Let’s dump it right first.

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

The real behind-the-scene warriors are our housekeepers who toil away silently, not knowing how valuable their work is!

The real behind-the-scene warriors are our housekeepers who toil away silently, not knowing how valuable their work is!

Those of you who have been following my blog, Facebook updates and media coverage might have come across the efforts that went into planning and executing a successful waste management (WM) in our apartment. Here’s a quick look at this ongoing mammoth exercise. I sincerely believe in this: Unless we know how to segregate, we will not know how to compost. If we are not ready to turn unwanted kitchen or garden waste into that beautiful organic manure, we will not go organic. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-2: Outsourcing lung space

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

Frangipani Flowers

In a majority of cases, apartments sprout on what was a cultivated land or a lakebed or both, previously. Thousands of trees get uprooted to make way for a gated community. This is happening at an alarming pace especially in green areas like North Bangalore. Relatively greener, that is. Continue reading