OLD IS GOLD

Mother’s day was on eighth May and I was reminded  of my favorite topic “Recycling and LEED design,” words much bantered about these days.

When I was growing up in India, in our household as well as in many others, nothing was ever wasted, old empty bottles were collected, old newspapers bundled and every week a “Kabaadivala” or junk collector came by the lane shouting “Kabad.” All the housewives would come out to their doorways with their old goods to barter for shiny new utensils for empty bottles and new fabric or yarns of wool for old rags. My mother would then happily sew these fabrics into clothing, tablecloths etc. and knit sweaters in a very unisex style – a word unheard of those days. We were four siblings and the eldest wore it first and then it was handed down to the next and at the end of it, if they were still in a good condition they were passed on to relative.

Nothing was ever wasted, as leftover food was fed to animals and garden clippings turned into mulch. Houses were painted with a lime wash which came in brown paper bags not in plastic containers.

My Mom even embroidered and crocheted her silk bed sheets and tablecloths, which were then handed down to us. I have her old china, silverware, clothes (exquisite sarees made of silk chiffon studded with mother of pearl, turquoise, gold & silver threads), her old embroidered shawls and even her make-up mirror. So the saying goes, if you take care of your things there is no reason for the next generation not to enjoy them and pass them along. In this way we have a cleaner, less wasteful world with no landfills and no need to ship our garbage to third world countries. Hopefully we will follow in our mothers footsteps and leave a better world for our children – remember the saying “Old is Gold.”



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