let us get started...

I normally am rarely at home during the course of the day and thus am not aware of he comings and goings that dot a normal working day seen from the inside of a home. Yesterday I remained indoors on doctor's advise and spent most the time in my tiny office which is next to the main entrance of the house and thus closest to the gate.

My hope of getting some serious work done was soon shattered by the door bell that rang at disturbing intervals. Bar the ironing man and the gardener all other interruptions came from a new persona: the courier man.

Soon a little pile of envelopes of all shades and hue littered my usually pristine desk. There were a few bills, a few invitations but the majority of the pile was made of diverse promos and publicity material. Though we are only three in the house, my husband is a member of two prestigious clubs and thus on several mailing lists. From sarees to silverware, from furniture to food, from electronic goods to art exhibitions everyone seemed to consider us a valued customer. And each envelope was glossier than the other and in sizes that would never fit the slit of a mailbox. And if that was not enough, most of the envelopes were packed in high quality transparent plastic lest they get soiled!

Like in most homes, the carefully wrapped messages would soon find their way in the waste, and in city like ours where waste segregation is still an unheard concept, the carefully worded suggestions to valued people who simply add to the burden of a collapsing planet.

Everyone is talking of global warming and the need to act. And one of the simple ways of doing so is my protecting trees and saving paper. Is not time for us as concerned citizens to raise our voices against this flood of publicity that now targets our very homes? I know that many will talk about the numerous jobs that this industry gives and supports. But is it not time to alter perceptions and reinvent things in a more environment friendly way?

In the times of the Internet and the electronic media, there have to be ways of halting the proliferation of publicity material that is suffocating the planet. And if one insists on printed material then one should use only recycled paper. I have often written about my concern on the proliferation of pouches that have hit urban slums and litter the roads and clog drains. Companies who market these are rich enough to invest into developing environment friendly packaging were it made mandatory. But in the game of money making who will bell the cat. And the cat is often within our home and goes by the name of comfort and convenience. It is so much easier to get a plastic bag from the shopkeeper than to carry a cloth one; it is easier to sump all garbage in a plastic bag than to segregate it.

Added to comfort and convenience is another culprit that goes by the name of convention. When we began our work almost 10 years ago and looked around we found that all organisations had beautiful brochures and pamphlets. In our earlier days we did the same but thankfully because of paucity of funds and the ever changing nature of our work we had to put a stop and look for alternatives. Those were the early days of the net and we jumped the bandwagon and created our website that we managed in-house. The rest is history and today even the printer has stopped making his customary sale calls. And today when people ask us for litterature about the project we refer them to the site and the blog and if needed print out one set of the required information.

Be it plastic, paper or water laws alone can never suffice. One has to change mindsets and alter our ways of thinking and be prepared to be called marginal or wacko. When my daughter got married we did not print wedding cards. Barring one person everyone did turn up.

It is time each one of us starts giving up old ways and find new ones. It is not an easy task but it is the only one that will help our children have a future.