Telangana craft entrepreneur’s paper napkin a ‘seed’ of an idea

These paper napkins convert wet waste into a medium that preserves seeds

July 03, 2020 11:44 pm | Updated July 04, 2020 09:53 am IST - NALGONDA

Arunjyothi Lokhanday with a set of seed paper napkins she prepared, at her residence in Nalgonda.

Arunjyothi Lokhanday with a set of seed paper napkins she prepared, at her residence in Nalgonda.

Arunjyothi Lokhanday is a traditional craftsperson from Nalgonda.

Like one would flip through the pages of an album to revisit the past with excitement, she is full of enthusiasm as she takes out each leaf of her collection.

“They don’t smell. This is tomato, and this is mirchi,” she said, holding each seed paper napkin.

For Ms. Lokhanday, a craft entrepreneur, each ‘leaf’ is embedded with at least 50 lives, soon to emerge as seedlings.

It has been six months since she made some 35 leaves out of waste from her vegetarian kitchen, and they are all waiting to burst into life.

Lokhanday’s seed paper napkins, a best-out-of-waste idea, is a do-it-yourself project that converts wet waste into a medium that preserves seeds. The napkin or a portion of it when sown, mixes with earth to emerge afresh.

Her seed paper napkins are based on a quick ‘sandwich recipe’. Vegetable and fruit peels, rotten greens, neem leaves to keep off insects, along with ‘okra’ (lady’s finger) are ground to make a stock paste.

The mush is then spread on a paper napkin, followed by sprinkling of collected seeds in square or desired shape. Another napkin on the top completes the ‘sandwich’, ready for sun-drying.

Ms. Lokhanday says, “Paper napkins are thin and easily biodegradable. There is a recent trend for seed paper wedding cards, calendars and token gifts, but the germination takes longer or mostly fails since the paper is pressed and they are above 200 gm.”

“While a full napkin of tomato, marigold or basil seed, made at home would be joyful activity, an A5 size sheet of the seed costs not less than ₹500 for a set of 50,” she adds.

However, Ms. Lokhanday, who also runs a hosiery store for a living, does not intend to sell her craft.

Coconut shells, broken bottles and old water filters re-purposed as pots, wall hangings, yoga mats, carpets and bouquets from cardboard, natural rangoli powder, clay Ganesha and nearly 100 seed papers, were freely shared among enthusiasts and young learners.

The range of paper and cardboard-based products, including small furniture, which she prepared over the years is testament to the amount of repurposable waste her small store produces.

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