Heck this summer, the rising temperatures and its woes that creeps in several uncanny thoughts in fists of laziness.
Pleasant as the weathers used to be, once upon a time, the drastic weather change, the tangential increase in vehicular pollution, the infiltrating population, depleting water tables, the perpetually increasing carbon footprint and the reducing green covers that we’ve always been famous for (well, some day that may remain just a history) have been a few direct promoters to the current state of weather affairs. I am cynical to the educated crowd in craze of the luring mall culture, the fast food takeaways amounting to corpus non degradable wastes, the lazy bums who need a car for singles and the little consideration they care for the exhausting fossil fuels, those loosers who fail to carry a bag along because they can do away with the plastic ones at dirt cheap price of few rupees, all at the cost of our environment. Equally pathetic have been our rainwater harvesting and waste management techniques, a rare to find garbage segregation, or may I say none at all. I am not against these odd commons, but urge being responsibly mindful.
My husband and I have been making constant attempts to create an awareness, more often being ridiculed to be annoying than anything. Like, we plunge into awkward situations when a guest visits us and looks around for a waste bin to discard rubbish. We persuade them to hand it over to us, so we can discard them appropriately. We don’t blurt out why, but will be more than glad if they handed it over to us for disposal. Then there are some smart chaps who insist they’ll throw, because they’ve been taught to be mannered. So we accompany them, fingering them to the right bin. Amused to a point we don’t get it, they often burst into fits of laughter on learning we do effective 'waste management'. Many can’t see why, because they assert that in the end all goes to a single landfill, which isn’t entirely true. It gets hard on us to explain, but we try. We’ve come to a point where we’ve stopped giving answers to many, because they deliberately argue. So we silently follow the practice between ourselves.
Then on another anecdote, we were on an overnight train along with big group of families travelling collectively, our co-passengers for this journey. The head of that group, a physics professor to a college picked up casual conversations with us as we exchanged smiles, little talks and shared food with him and his family. And like it usually happens with most Indian families on a train journey, exchange of home cooked food become the pot-boilers to fuel conversations and controversies, this journey wasn’t any different. What although was nastily upsetting was that all through the course of this journey, this learned gentleman, his wife and their grown up teens, callously flung stuffs off the train window; the food, peels, plastics and all that at regular intervals. In midst of our talks, deliberating them to refrain from doing so, and giving them a dose of science behind the whys in idioms that the professor’s nasty brain could understand, couple of more garbage flew out in seconds! At the heights of it, well at the end of our meal, we pulled out our home-brought reusable polythene covers to pump in the wastes and dispose off sensibly later. As we were about to shove them into our bags, this smart gentleman in his wrecked wits grabbed our wastes and flung them off the windows, leaving us painfully distressed! Between his naughty grins, the supposedly science professor told us bluntly that all we had spoken were noble to preach and not to follow in reality. So we were in loss of words.
Awareness is elementary. But then, that’s not where the issue is. Most of us know consciously the value of nature and the repercussions we may face if we continue to exploit the resources this way. My uneducated house help is equally aware that wasting water is sinful since she purchases tankers of them for her survival. I wonder if she’s cautious at her place to care for every little drop that she pays for. Yet, when at work, it seems easier to let the tap flowing while cleaning vessels, because it saves her time and energy, and it costs no penny. Likewise, despite our several attempts to convey waste segregation messages within our apartment association, we’ve been least successful in getting most of the cultured folks in our vicinity to even make a beginning.
I second the fact that the reckless rate at which we are speeding up technologically is alarming. I feel like a perpetrator myself on several occasions. The cell phone era that we can’t do without, every ring, every call I make alarms me of their signal posts towering sky high at couple of foot steps and their carcinogenic radiations that we have to live with. Those Bluetooth, wireless, infra-reds and microwaves have become an indispensable part of our lives that we’ll be severely hampered without. The humongous bore wells being dug every single day, the failing rains and battling water problems in city that have made the bare essentials a commodity of sale, a free right the nature gave us, but with a responsibility that we’ve failed severely at.
The truth is I feel so unprepared for the future I see for my daughter. I see myself swinging on odd ends of balances. Blame it on motherhood, aging or the PMS, but I’ve been thinking a lot for a long time, of the ugly carbon footprint, my daughter, her future and all of that. I am left with cold nerves and numb feet of what holds in couple of decades from now. And if our Hindu discourses said we are in the kali yuga, I can’t help but reflect how right they were in their predictions. They did foresee what devastation human intelligence and greed could do. It’s only a hope we came together collectively and did our bit. For the environment. To save the future. And to let the future generation live. For our children and for theirs to come. And for our own old age.
All said with heavy thoughts, I wouldn’t want to leave you without a recipe of this salad that's apt for this summer, a recipe that’s simple and least complicated as my contemplations are. I leave you with a hope that you’ll ponder. And be the one who’ll resort to a positive change that will prolong the deleterious impact, hopefully. Hope you have a great weekend!
Baby Spinach, Apple & Walnut Salad with Raw Mango Dressing
A bunch of baby spinach (from our home garden)
1 cucumber, cut to thin slices
1 Apple sliced to thin wedges
Couple of walnuts
For the Raw Mango Dressing:
1/2 cup grated raw mango
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Layer the cucumbers, followed by the apple slices and the baby spinach. Strew a couple of walnuts.
In a pan, heat the vegetable oil along with the mustard seeds. As the seeds begin to splutter, add the grated raw mango along with turmeric powder and sauté till it wilts and cooks through. This will take a couple of minutes. Add the red chilli powder and salt to taste. If you plan to store this dressing for a couple of days, then use more oil to cook mangoes. The oil needs to coat and cover them well. This simple mango chutney goes very well with rice and rotis.
Toss the salad with this prepared mango dressing or serve as a side along with this relish.