Monday, September 16, 2019

Five Easy Sustainable Practices

There are many articles and videos online on low waste living and if you’re like me, you’ve gone through a bunch of them. Going through all of this information inspires me to write about it too! But my reasons for writing are two-fold. While it is meant to provide information, it also comes from a place of realisation. A realisation that our parents, and grandparents were the original low wasters. 

There are certain practices and values that they always preached, through action and otherwise. However, the convenience of modern life has put these at the back of our minds. In retrospect, there’s a lot of wisdom there.

Here are a few practices that we should get back to, that will make a tremendous difference to the environment.

 1. Say yes to cloth bags!
I still remember visiting my grandparents in my summer vacations, and my grand mum sending granddad to get us treats from the local market. He would head out with an empty cloth bag specifically designated for groceries, and much to our joy, would come back with a full bag!

This is something that is advised now, to end the use of single use plastic bags. And I’ve jumped on this bandwagon for a while. We have a bunch of cloth bags, kept in different places for ease of use. We have some kept at home, but I’ve also kept one in my handbag, and one in my car. This way, if the situation arises, I always have one handy.

 2. Travel with drinking water
Growing up, my mum always kept a water bottle with her when we traveled (wisdom gained by moving around with two boisterous little girls). It came as second nature to her. Little did she know that this practice of hers would be given as advice to the present generation!

Now, I always keep a bottle handy. We live in a tropical city; so, it’s definitely needed. I fill it up in the morning and try to find instances to refill through the course of the day.

 3. Finish yo food, son!
An empty plate was always required for a meal to end, and this meant taking only as much as one could finish. This also meant trying to cook as much was needed, and if extra, then eating as leftovers. The idea of a different combination of food for every meal has always been a foreign concept to me.

These days, we try to be more mindful of our food. We aim to cook the right amount and try to finish whatever is left the next day. Old rotis and rice is given to the doggies under our building (to their joy). We have also started composting food scraps (more on that soon).

 4. Buy in bulk
Buying food in bulk is talked about off late, but we’ve seen this happen in our homes growing up. The local markets were always the place to buy dals, rice and atta. We would have a doodhwalla, who would fill up the milk containers.

I struggle with this. I have been on the lookout for bulk stores in Mumbai but haven’t come across any as yet. Once I do, I’ll be sure to mention them here. Till then, we try to buy the largest size of the food products. Not only is this cost efficient, it reduces the packaging being thrown.

 5. Reuse cloths, and ditch fast fashion
My dad doesn’t hesitate to tell us stories of his parents, and how they would get clothes made for him and his brother, that were always two sizes too large. Their idea was that they would grow into them pretty quickly (good idea, if you think about it!). This idea was practiced with us as well. It was always a given that our granddad would take us to the shops to pick out cloth, and we would be gifted clothes that were way larger than us! But these clothes lasted for years, without compromising on quality.

 This is something that has stuck on with me. I still wear clothes I bought five or more years ago. I try to be mindful with my purchases and have worked to create a minimal closet (more on that as well! So many things to talk about!).

Friday, August 16, 2019

Low waste living: Where I am now

For some time now, I have been attracted to minimalism. This started with my wardrobe, that always contained a pile of clothes that I 'may wear someday'. Come on, we all have this pile (or drawer, or closet or what have you). This was before Marie Kondo made tidying up a more mainstream concept, but I would routinely go through items of clothing that I had, and remove things that were old, or I just didn't like. But I still had that pile. Then, I became a little more ruthless in this process. This was after a realization that even though I had quite a few clothes, I would only wear a selected number on a semi daily basis. So basically, that 'someday' would never come.

Being in India, it is difficult to have the capsule wardrobe that is seen all around Youtube and Pinterest. The '10 items, 50 looks' seems intriguing and visually attractive, but with the sweat, dust and grime that surrounds us, it's not a very hygienic option. But one can still bring their wardrobe down to a more basic state, if one is so inclined. And that is what one did.

When sustainability and low waste living came into focus, it seemed like a natural progression to me. It's a vast concept, but to me this means owning things that you need, and absolutely want. But all along, doing it while being conscious of it's impact on the surrounding. That's what I get out of it.

For about a year or so, I have been trying to make little changes to become more sustainable and reduce waste. I'll get into more details in posts to come, but there are many changes one can do. And how satisfying it is! Some changes are easier than others, but it's great to be doing things for a greater good.

I have a long way to go, but isn't it great that I have this space to document the journey?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Guess who's back!

It's taken me a while to get back, and I'll be honest, I was (and am) a little apprehensive about this. But I told myself that I would start doing things that brought me joy, so that when someone asks me 'what I'm up to', I wouldn't only say, 'usual, busy at work'.

When I look back, the time I was writing this blog has been the most creative I have been in life. This was because the constant want to give updates here made me try many things. I went from writing about absolutely anything, doing DIY's around the house, clicking photographs around the city and of myself... to not writing at all. And it has taken a little bit of me, away from me.

So here I am again, older and not much wiser (I'm not surprised by this). I live in Mumbai, and work at a corporate where I am comfortable. I have a husband I adore and a cat on whom I force affection, so I have no complaints!

After spending years in the bustling city overflowing with people and things, I have now been working towards living a more minimalist life. This has happened in many ways, and I continue to find ways to facilitate this. Along with this, I am also getting more conscious about my health; something else that is affected by my now sedentary lifestyle.

I hope for this blog to once again be a documentation of my life, thereby making me do things to write about. And as always, I hope to reach out to like-minded people, who may be inspired to document their lives as well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Three things this Thursday

As I go through my older posts, I realize I have lost the habit of reading blogs (she writes, seeing no irony that she has a blog herself). However, I must confess that I have become a Youtube addict! So I am predicting that going forward, this series (Three things...) will have more videos, and a few articles. So, here goes nothing.

The other day, I came across this video of waking up early, something I have *always!* struggled with. The vlogger talks about how he came across some useful information about waking up early in the morning, and has since incorporated it in his life. Now, he has more time to do things he wants, like reading books and exercising. Something in this video really resonated with me, and I have since tried to wake up early too! I was quite successful for a week, but now my resolve seems to be wavering just a bit. But I think it takes some time to form a habit, so this is an ongoing process.

I have been loving these Buzzfeed videos! I mostly love watching topics related to health and fitness, and I think I've gone through them all by now. Mostly, I like to watch people trying things. I have a problem, guys!

Ever since I've heard this song, I have believed that it would be the background music to a video montage of my life. Don't we all have that one song? 
© Sunshine Over The Mountains
Maira Gall