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Celebrating frugality

The enthusiasm by which we celebrate festivals in India is something to be seen to believe! Festivals are to Indian culture what spices are to Indian cuisine, the most important forms of celebrations!

Deepavali is undoubtedly one of the most famous festivals in India. Celebrated pan-India, the festival of lights has several significances. Despite diverse cultures in various States of the country, everybody comes together to light up diyas and celebrate the festival of lights in unison. It is quite a spectacle. The happiest thing is it is generally celebrated during late October or early November during which the entire country starts experiencing good weather. 

In the 1960s, when we were in middle school, getting a new dress was a dream and the dream gets fulfilled only once in a year — that is for Deepavali! I still remember the unending discussions among siblings and friends about their new attire. No prior planning or info about when shopping will happen, as Deepavali shopping was at the convenience of the head of the family. The head of the family used to buy cloth (no ready to wear during those times!) of his choice for the entire family! Then one day, the tailor would be called to our residence or we would go to the tailor’s place to give measurements in front of elders who will repeatedly instruct the tailor to stitch one size above so that we can wear our outfit for longer.

The frightened tailor would keep extra one size and on Deepavali day, we all would wear shirts like kurtas and trousers like three-fourths! Same austerity measures will be followed in buying crackers too. Children spent hours to get to know about the latest crackers, only to settle with limited, inexpensive old varieties! The biggest consolation for them was home-made exotic delicious sweets and savouries.

Though things have improved over time, still overall per capita consumption of India is way below that of Western countries. Yes, fortunately we are yet to catch up with those senseless consumerism and hence can be proud in helping planet earth by not frequently buying electronics or garments and thereby dumping huge chunk of used oldies.

A major cause of global warming is use of fossil fuel for power production. And per capita power consumption of India is far below (less than half) than that of the U.S. or other western countries and so we can be comparatively less guilty in aiding global warming! And for sure, the trend will never get worsened as we already started discussing, debating and accepting to help reduce global warming.

For generations, Indians are taught not to waste anything and to conserve all resources. Such practices which might have started as a value system of Indian culture thrived subsequently — maybe due to poor economics and now it is an Indian habit. Let us continue the good habit of not wasting any resources and be the role models to the world.

joyatwin@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 10:45:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/celebrating-frugality/article37719106.ece

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