Your mother could be your own homespun eco-champion!

When my mother, 67, sat down to hem in the frayed ends of a handloom blanket, it took almost two hours for her arthritic fingers to cut off the extra threads gently and hem the ends in with near-perfect stitches. As she folded the blanket and placed it back in the cupboard, she said: “Handloom blankets are more comfortable than those useless (synthetic) ones. Why do you waste thousand of rupees for those you can’t even wash and reuse for long?”

This is a woman, much like those of her and older generations, who grew up without using a single chemical (barring soaps) in her entire home. While baking soda and gram flour erased tough oily stains with ease, ash and rice husk washed dishes. She poured out soap water used for soaking clothes to wash courtyards and bathrooms. She took out her cloth bags whenever she went out shopping. She did not use fridge or water heaters. The only few plastic bags that she carefully preserved were meant to serve one precious purpose: waterproofing cloth bags during rains. Such has been the sanctity of her everyday routine that the waste her household generated hardly needed segregation. She recycled paper, utensils; found ingenious ways to reuse clothes by turning them into quilts, blankets and unknowingly let the local quilt-makers’ families survive on such local economy. Continue reading