Saw pictures of the majestic pink flamingoes that flocked around Navi Mumbai during the coronavirus lockdown? Or the picture-perfect shots of Dhauladhar mountains that blessed Jalandhar residents after a sporadic period of 30 years? Extremely toiling as this pandemic and the consequent lockdown have been, it has indeed been pleasant to watch nature healing, breathing sans human intervention.
‘Are we the virus?’ we have been asked a zillion times in the past months, an easy deduction made from the extent to which nature has healed while human life came to a screeching halt. The truth is, everything can be worked out in perfect harmony provided we take cognizance of how our own actions can make and break things around us, the environment being the context here.
Going just a little sustainable in our ways can go a long way and I can vouch for it as I gave sustainability and eco-friendly living a fair trial during the lockdown. Intrigued to find out what I did and how exactly it turned out for me? Read on.
Okay by a veggie garden I really mean I started a fancy-schmancy one! I started a very basic veggie garden at home because the lockdown finally gave me the time to do it. Also, I am currently in my home town and unlike my tiny apartment back in Delhi, the home here helped me with the basic infrastructure to easily try my hands on some gardening. I started small, with a really fun method to grow tomatoes and used old, slightly bad tomatoes for the purpose. They took two weeks to sprout and I can’t share the joy each one of those sprouting saplings brought. It was super low effort and totally worth it! Here’s the method that I followed:
Besides tomatoes, I have also tried my hands on some homegrown coriander, spinach, chilies, bottle gourd, and okra. And while the coriander output appears slightly disappointing and scanty, everything else has been sprouting a consequent garden in my heart. I can’t wait for my veggies to be ready and finally taste the yield of my (moderately) hard work. Satisfying and super sustainable!
Plus, the low effort technique of growing veggies also made me realise that I don't really need a huge lawn or garden for the same. A tiny balcony and some pots will do the trick and I am totally growing veggies in my balcony once I get back to Delhi.
PS: If you are thinking of giving it a try please ensure that the pots that you use for gardening are non-plastic and eco-friendly.
All through the lockdown, my biggest fear has been that they’d one day announce an infinite curfew and we’d have no access to vegetables and fruits for a long time. The fear has actually made me more aware of the kitchen waste and how so much material from my kitchen simply goes to the dustbin.
I have thus been actively looking for sustainable food practices and ways to bring it down to a minimum and some of them have turned out to be quite cool. I have learned to make really cool potato wedges with the peels on, an awesome curry made entirely out of pea peels, and my mom would soon be teaching me how to make pickles out of cauliflower stems. Additionally, I have been mostly relying on veggies and recipes that generate minimum waste overall. And whatever little waste is still generated, it goes to my home garden as eco-friendly compost.
However, it is a vegetable stock recipe that I currently swear by. All the leftover and slightly old veggies find a welcome space in this stock which then works wonders in enhancing flavours in a lot of other recipes. Here's a recipe for the same:
Add all the ingredients to boiling water, cook on high flame for five minutes, and then keep simmering on low flames for an hour. Strain the stock and freeze.
Okay so this one started as a DIY challenge with my bestie, one thing led to another and we were soon making eco-friendly stuff at home including soaps and toothpaste. And while my soap received a mixed review from the fam, the toothpaste has been garnering rave ones. Here's how you can make your own toothpaste at home:
-Mix everything and your sustainable AF toothpaste would be ready.
-Keep in a glass jar.
I haven’t been out of the home in over two months and it really got lonely for a while. A colony doggo used to sleep right next to my house and I struck a nice friendship with him in lieu of full cream milk and some bread of course. This one turned out to be a party guy, long things short, I have been almost fostering five doggos now. They don’t live at my house but all their mealtime is spent here which works fine for all of us. My brother also installed a grain basket in the balcony and we have been meeting the most gorgeous of the birds of late.
I have long tried to make a transition from showers to bucket baths but always found showers more convenient while I was rushing for office. Now, with all the home time during the lockdown, the transition has been really easy and for some reason, I have been really enjoying the idea of sitting down on a bathroom stool and bathe leisurely at my pace without the constant stress of water being wasted while I am at it.
Okay, for starters, I have never really indulged in a product heavy beauty routine. Call it my lazy disposition but I have never been someone to slather layers and layers of packaged products on my skin. That said, I did use a regular moisturiser, face scrub, and face pack every now and then. However, I left Delhi on an emergency note right before the lockdown got declared and thus ended up leaving all my beauty products there only. No websites were serviceable for a long time post that and I had to turn to all-natural beauty care products to survive. Results? I don’t think I am ever stopping!
Intrigued about how it works? Here’s how you make all-natural facial products at home with just three ingredients:
For The Scrub: Take 2 tbsp of besan in a clean bowl, mix in some fruit pulp, add ¼ tbsp of facial oil. Mix the ingredients and add in some fruit juice to adjust the consistency.
For The Massage: Take ½ cup fruit pulp and mix 1 tbsp oil to it.
For The Face Pack: Use the scrub mix as the face pack too. Instead of scrubbing this time, just gently apply it on the skin, and let it dry. Finish off with a gentle dab of facial oil in the end.
Right after the lockdown, we at POPxo launched a story series called Handloom Handbook in which we actively looked into the beautiful world of Indian handlooms and why they need our support now more than ever. We also curated lists of sustainable brands that have been keeping fashion truly meaningful all this while. Always a handloom enthusiast, I have of course wowed to endorse them for all that they are.
Lastly, going a little eco-friendly and sustainable in my ways during the lockdown helped me learn that it is not as tough as is sounds and is absolutely worth it given the benefits that it comes with. This World Environment Day, let us all pledge to live in harmony with the environment!
Featured Image: Instagram