I was walking along with my friend and I saw a heart-wrenching incident on our way. As we walked by a temple there were quite a few beggars outside the temple. The beggars comprised of an old senile lady, some kids and a few men. Now, the lady was wearing a saree in the clumsiest way possible, her blouse didn’t fit her at all and gave a generous sight of her sagging breasts, her hair was all messed up, her face was dirty like she hasn’t washed it for years and from her actions one could easily make out that she was completely insane. A guy came with 8-9 packets of Parle-G and all the beggars started fighting for their share of Parle-G, and it was an ugly sight because they fought like animals maybe worse. The worst part was that they fought for “Food”, something that most of us take for granted; in fact many of us don’t give a second thought while wasting or throwing away food. We are so ignorant and busy with our little problems that we fail to see the bigger picture.
We do not understand that a large chunk of the population in this world dies because of paucity of food and water. These are the things that we take for granted and hence waste it. Ours is a generation that has not been taught to conserve be it the little things like an eraser, a pencil, a pen, a paper or the bigger things like water, food, trees, air and so on. We have got it all from childhood so conservation is a term that is absent from our dictionaries.
Why conserve? Conservation for many of us is analogous to frugality. When you have money you don’t want to be frugal. I remember in my mother’s generation people were much more considerate she used to tell me that her father would never get her a new eraser until and unless she has used up and finished her earlier eraser, and the reason isn’t that he didn’t have money but because he valued resources. When you entrench such values since childhood only then, can the child learn to implement them in other arenas of his/her life.
My mother has never given me anything in abundance and that is how I learnt the real value of resources. Everything is precious no matter how small or big it might be. Wastage has become a trend and people consider it cool to waste things. I mean when I see the way people waste water just because it is cheaper than other things it just depicts their short sightedness. These people are creating a difficult world for their future generations. Their kids might not enjoy the similar things that they have, and their grandsons and granddaughters might find it even harder to stay in a world with lesser water, lesser food and more pollution.
Nowadays, if people value something it is when that something has a price tag on it and is sold at exorbitant prices. Until and unless that happens people do not consider resources precious. Now that petrol prices have soared, the usefulness, the judiciousness and the scarcity of it has struck people but earlier it was wasted as well. The Delhi government reduced the price of water, and I consider it a foolish and juvenile decision because this will promote the wastage of water which is so rampant in middle class homes in Delhi. I agree that water should be made available to everyone irrespective of their financial status but this step is not very well thought out step.
In fact there should be a policy according to which the household with the minimal usage of water with respect to the number of family members should get you some price/gift or some honour from the Delhi Chief Minister. Excess of usage should enable you to pay higher water bills. Like tax slabs there should be slabs on water usage as well (consider the number of family members). This can prevent the wastage and will ensure judicious use of water.
As far as food is considered in a utopian world it is the responsibility of the government to feed every citizen but since we live in a real world we can’t expect that to happen. All of us should make a promise to ourselves, whenever we eat at a high end restaurant t or whenever we eat out, we should feed one hungry person. It requires barely 10% of what you spend on yourself. If you spend 100, then just spend 10 or 15 rupees and feed a hungry person.
The idea of keeping a fast is there in religion to instil a sense of empathy for the hungry, to feel what they feel for a day. So, if you can feed the hungry it is much better than, just feeling their pain. Wastage of food is just not an option until and unless it has got rotten. We can always feed the animals. If each one of us agrees on feeding 1 person whenever we go out, and not to waste food then this world will be a better place even for our future generations.