* What a waste!

In the mid-80s, I was a teenager, & I remember from my formative years that milk came in exchangeable glass bottles. Amulspray, dalda, & toothpowder came in a tin. Later, toothpaste in a metal tube. 505 bar laundry soap, biscuits, & toffee came covered in wax paper. One bathing soap for an entire family came in a cardboard box, & shampoo was grown & plucked (hibiscus leaf/rita) locally. Phenyl, disposable shaving blade, mosquito repellant, & deodorant were unheard of.

Plastic wire baskets lasted a generation. Calendars were used to cover the books. Groceries were packed in conical-shaped newspaper & secured with jute twine. Metal dabbas were used in the kitchen, & the rest of the packing material, including coconut-shell, went into heating water in the bathroom as a woodfire. The resulting ash was used to wash vessels with the help of the coconut husk.

Powders, pastes, & masalas were made at home, & cold-pressed oil came from the local ginner in a steel container. Filter coffee powder came in a brown paper cover secured with brown-paper gum tape. Not only vegetables, fruits, flowers, rocksalt, flattened/puffed rice, & kerosine came to our doorstep, but also tamarind, red chillies, and lemon/mango for pickles, in season, once a year, for an entire year.

Slippers, umbrellas, copper vessels, open-well, furniture & cotton mattresses got repaired at our doorstep.

Cooking was creative. Vegetable seeds & peel were also used to make different dishes. With the absence of a fridge, leftover food (if at all), rice starch water, vegetable/fruit peel, sour curds, & a few kitchen wastes went into a bucket full of water locally called ಕಲಗಚ್ಚು (Kalagachu). This nutritious concoction was relished daily by the cattle on the road, & in turn, they would provide cow dung, which was used as manure or to smear the sit-out.

I had one pair of slippers. Clothes were bought from a known shop, without bargaining, for the entire family twice a year. Old clothes were mended & handed down or put to use creatively.

Nothing went to waste.

And then, in the 90s, we as a country decided to liberalize ourselves to ape the developed nations & ended up with garbage. What a shame.
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