Life Lessons To Be Learnt & Practised

5 sustainable practices from my grandma's life
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To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

~Thomas Campbell

It’s just about a week since my paatti (maternal grandmother) passed away. I realised that I didn’t grieve much. I did feel sad and shed a few tears when I came to know about her death but I didn’t grieve much. 

For some strange reason, I felt at peace and content whenever I thought of paatti. It’s upon introspection that I realised that she had lived her life wholly, wrapped us up with an abundance of love and left us with fond memories that she feels close even now.

It feels that patti’s passing away can never take away her presence through spirit
and the life lessons she has left us with. 

Here is a small tribute to my paatti whose life was teaching, sustainability is just one aspect of it.

My adorable paatti.

Lessons of sustainability from my paatti

1. Minimalism:

While minimalism may be a trending concept now, decades before, minimalism was a way of living. Our paatti was a living example of it. All her physical possessions were just an airbag full and she occupied very less of physical space. 

It just makes me wonder how much dependent we are on our physical possessions and tomorrow if we may die, how much of a burden it would be for the people around us to decide over keeping or disposing of them. 

Her minimalistic way of living is something I need to put into action. 

2. Basics:

My paatti was the kind of homemaker who prepared everything from scratch. Be it batter for idli & dosa, setting curd every night or making bakshanams(sweets & savouries), she did everything from scratch. Not only were they healthy and yummy, but in the long run, it was sustainable, hardly generating any waste. 

3. Sustainable choices:

While we are fighting the menace of one-time-use plastics and other non-biodegradable stuff, I’m always in awe to realise my paatti had always chosen sustainable options. Be it using kumkum in place of bindi or banana leaves in place of plates, she made sustainable practices an everyday practice and not an occasional one. 

A poem in rhyme

4. Reusing:

Believe me or not but there is still this kal chetti (stone cookware) that is exclusively used to make the prasava legiyam (herbal medicine given to mothers post-pregnancy) that my paatti had used over generations and is still intact. While we, the people of the current generation, end up in mindless buys, paatti knew how to go for minimal buys, maintain things and made it a point to prioritise reuse rather than throwing things away. 

5. Discipline:

Well, any of us can make sustainable choices or go for minimal buys but what makes my paatti stand out is her discipline. Sustainability wasn’t any practice or habit she picked up but it was her way of living.

For example, I have never seen her keep away clothes to wash for the next day. She does it the same day. In fact, I (& all my cousins too would agree!) had always been in awe of how neatly she maintains her pure cotton, peach-coloured 9-yards saree. 

She hand-washes it, and one can never find a single stain (thanks to her signature style of having a handkerchief tucked in her hip all day long)in it. The way she puts the saree to sun dry and then folds it tightly in the evening as if it has been steam-ironed with wrinkles nowhere to be found is just so being her.

Our paatti breathed simplicity, self-reliance & discipline
in such a way that sustainability became her being. 

But above all, if there is a key takeaway from her life, it would be her love & her way of living. She did all of this out of love and not even once has she advised or insisted anyone follow her way. Neither has she complained a bit; I feel that’s the main reason I’m so drawn to her. She lived simply & wholly that her living itself has become our guide.

Paatti, you have taught us all well & loved us abundantly. We aspire to follow your way of living & in all our efforts, small or big, you will be remembered fondly & forever!

~United voice of your children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren

“This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.”