Diary of a Little Woman | The Anti-Plastic Pact

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Young Nila comes to understand the serious impact that non-biodegradable plastic products have on the planet. And her solution is to be proactive, not shift blame or complain about the government.

“It’s difficult to not use plastic at all these days. But some people buy 30 mini bottles of ice tea and Minute Maid when they can buy just 3 big bottles. What to do!”

Nov 4


Dear Diary,


What is it with grown-ups and complaining?


We had a workshop at school today about plastic. Mathew Anna was telling us about how we are killing ourselves by killing the planet. I had never even thought of all these things until he said it, even though it is so obvious.


He is tall and handsome. Nice smile also. When I told this to Poo, she said ‘You have a crush on him, Nila.” I don’t know about this crush-wush. He’s sweet and he is doing something good — instead of complaining about how the city is so smelly and dirty.


We are planting a vegetable garden at school next week. We get to pick our patch AND our vegetable. I ran fast fast and picked the patch in the far corner for tomatoes. They take time to grow but those kutti kutti red balloons are worth the wait, no? Methi and spinach grow much quicker. They also look fine only but everything is anyway green. The tomatoes will add some colour.


We saw three butterflies on the other end of the ground where they have planted flowers. Looks like they have made their home there, because this is the second time we’re spotting them. So, we had a naming ceremony for them. After much debate, we decided on Powerpuff Girls. The yellow one is Buttercup, The pink is Blossom and the black one is Bubbles. There are no black bubbles but what to do, it was the only name remaining?


In the evening, again Ramesh Uncle was at home along with the extremely annoying Vanaja Aunty. Thankfully Najju Paati was also there. I was actually slightly excited because Najju Paati is the only person who can give Vanaja Aunty the best nose-cuts.


My prediction was right. (My last two predictions about which team would win the IPL matches were also right. “You should become a Toothsayer,” Najju Paati told me. Such a funny word.)


Dinner was same old curd rice and beans curry. But I knew some drama would happen soon. I was telling Najju Paati about Mathew Anna and his workshop. Just as predicted, she said, “Ah! What to do, Nila! It’s difficult to not use plastic at all these days. But some people buy 30 mini bottles of ice tea and Minute Maid when they can buy just 3 big bottles. What to do!”


Perfect nose cut! Vanaja Aunty’s house is filled with hundreds of Minute Maid bottles. Both Aunty and Uncle are addicted. They will become fully orange one day, I think. I hope.


Obviously Vanaja Aunty wasn’t going to keep quiet. “All these bottles are tested, Najju Mami. They are certified as safe to use.”


I decided to do some innocent meddling, “Yeah Najju Paati. It’s ok. I am sure Vanaja Aunty is recycling the bottles anyway, no Aunty?”


“No. No. We just throw it in the dustbin.” This was the first time Ramesh Uncle has said something useful.


Ha! Vanaja Aunty caught red-handed. Or is it orange-handed? She tried to cover up by saying that the government should do proper waste segregation like in the U.S. For everything, she uses one U.S. excuse. But too late. We were all laughing by then.


NOSE CUT prediction true! Yay.

Sleep coming. Good night.


Yours toothsayer-ly,




Nov 5

Dear Diary,


Poo, Rads and I have made an Anti-Plastic Pact. Amma gifted me one cute purple flask to replace my purple plastic Barbie water bottle. Good only. Barbie is for kids anyway.


Lalli Athai came home. When I told her about our Anti-Plastic Pact, she took me shopping and bought a pretty red and white handloom cloth school bag. Plus one olive green cloth pencil pouch.


That’s why I’m writing in pencil (in case you were wondering). Athai promised to buy one wooden pen also.


Shanky wanted to join pact. I wasn’t sure but Poo and Rads approved his membership on the condition that he wouldn’t tattle about our adventures. He did mother-promise. We know how useless that is so we made him Dhoni-promise. That should do the trick.


Athai promised to take him shopping tomorrow.


Counted 23 yawns. Must sleep.


Yours yawning-ly,




Nov 6

Dear Diary,

We went to visit Subbu Uncle today. It seems he went to an ashram in Bangalore for some special function and got extra prasadam for us. He showed photos of the place. I was just thinking how big and beautiful the place was when I saw the last three photos. SO MUCH PLASTIC!


Subbu Uncle was continuously praising the Swamiji. I asked him why that Swamiji is so great when he is actually killing his devotees. He didn’t understand at first so I explained about plastic and how it kills people and the planet.


He didn’t know how to react. Then he ran off inside to answer some imaginary phone call. None of us heard the phone ringing. By the time he came back topic had changed. I was just wondering how to restart the topic when the TV came to my rescue — a show on Discovery channel about how the coastal cities will go under water in less than 100 years.


As usual, all the grown-ups started their running commentary about how the government is doing nothing about it.


“Yeah yeah. The government should first ban plastic,” Appa shouted. Everyone else also nodded their heads.


I told them that we can also ban plastic.


Then they ignored me and started talking about how it’s too late now. The country has gone to the dogs. They should jail all the politicians. Usual lines.


Only Amma was quiet. She gave that ‘Yeah I understand you Nila but these idiots never will’ smile.


I don’t understand these people at all. They all want the government to do everything for them. They can also do something, no? Manju Ma’am was telling us about Gandhiji yesterday. I liked one quote of his. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


I don’t know how to explain it to these ‘educated adults’. They are just like plastic — plentiful and harmful. Wish we could recycle them somehow. Maybe if Mathew Anna has talks with them they’ll listen because he’s also a grown-up.



Meanwhile, I’m going to continue my Anti-Plastic Pact with the gang. We’ll recruit more members and make it a big thing like Gandhiji’s freedom movement.



Lots to do!

Wish me luck, Dear Diary.


Yours Anti-Plastically




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