And suddenly, one day, we got plastics! We see them everywhere, even in a remote tribal village that is cutoff from civilization without access even to a decent road. Plastics come in all forms- sachets, tubes, packets, rubber, polythene, etc. They are found everywhere- every field, every stream, every street, every neighborhood- almost every landscape is littered with shining plastic. We don’t know what to do with them. They never seem to go away. They remain the same, in the soil for years making the land toxic; they block the streams, canals and drainage to flood the cities during rains. Animals eat them, choke on them and die. We don’t know what to do with plastic water bottles or tea cups- they land up on the street. They are littered everywhere- whole of
Then we have another fascination with plastic- sitting on it. Many new Indians cars are adorned in plastic. The owners never seem to take them off, and like to keep the plastic on for a long time. According to them, it makes them feel like riding a new car. As for me, I feel like sitting on plastic- it’s slippery and makes weird noises when you move. Why would I pay few lakhs of rupees to sit on plastic sheets? Even if they do remove the plastic off the seats, or may be, it’s just got worn off after a month long wear and tear, they still keep plastic cover on sun shades and other accessories.
Some homes have all their new stuff still draped in plastic. Barbie dolls never come out of their plastic boxes. Some refrigerators and microwave still have polythene covered handles. Once, I went to visit some friends. I was watching TV all alone. The sticker on the TV screen was taking up a lot of space, so I just went ahead and removed it. When the owners came back they were shocked, dismayed and extremely annoyed that I took the sticker off. I got to know that they have been retaining the sticker since they bought their TV set almost a year ago. They wanted to believe it’s still brand new! Plastic helps them believe it is always new.
Technology without maturity
We have been given the fruits of modern science and technology without having to go through the pains of attaining it. It was first imposed on us, then we just inherited it, and now we borrow it. Technology is not a solace or answer to all our problems. It has its own byproducts which could be distasteful. It all depends on how we use it. To be in a position to use it appropriately, we need to be a mature country- that we are not! For example, you go to a movie theatre to watch a movie, and the cell phones keep ringing- it’s so annoying to everyone else. Some of them even pick up the phone and keep chatting. The glowing light from across the other guy is irritating and distracting. Some of them keep sending SMS. Another bad habit is picking up phone while having a dinner or a coffee with friends. Once, I saw bunch of friends all sitting across the dinner table, each one talking over the phone. Why did they come to dinner in the first place, to meet these friends who are across the table, or talk to others who aren’t there?
Plastics are result of modern technology. They are extremely useful. At the same time they pose a great threat to environment. It requires maturity to handle it and dispose it. While we have inherited these fruits, we haven’t got a chance to inherit the maturity. If only we could just buy a kilo of maturity in a nearby shopping mall!