History Thoughts


As Indians we did the following and still a non-negligible population follow these:

We used Banana leaves instead of plates.

We used Shikakai for our hairs.  Shampoos were unheard off.  Pure Coconut oil was used.  No creams or sprays.

The serving laddles were made with coconut shells and bamboo sticks.  Not metal.  The vessels were also stone pots or earthern pots.

The daylight was used to its fullest. The houses built had good cross ventilation.

Hand held fans (Pankha in Hindi and Visiri in Tamil) were used.  No air conditioners.

Neem tree twigs were used to brush the teeth.  No tooth pastes.

For grinding purposes, the tranditional grinding stones were used.  No mixies or grinders.

Henna/Mehendi/Marudhani was used.  Nail polish weren’t used.

Fresh vegetables and fruits were used.  No cheese/frozen products.

Every locality had a cow barn.  The cows were milked at each and every doorstep depending on the requirement.  Thus arose no questions about transportation, packaging etc., The cows were allowed to graze the fields freely.

Curd was made at home.  Not bought in stores.

Fresh cheese (paneer) was prepared at home.  Cheese was unheard off.

Naan, roti, chappatis, rice were the staple food.  Porridge was consumed for breakfast or other dishes based upon the staple grains.  Bread/cornflakes weren’t known to us.

A refrigerator was never needed to store food.  Food prepared on a day was consumed the same day itself.  In summer, drinking water was stored in earthern pots which kept the water cool.

For packaging groceries, old newspapers and jute were used.  No plastic sachets.

Why then have we changed now? 🙁

Everybody is welcome to contribute to the list.

7 replies on “Why?”

let me comment with a cliché – “the only thing that doesn’t change in this world is change itself”.
and adding to the list…
communication was done through face to face interaction, now its done through blogs 🙂

more money can be made selling cosmetics.. than milk and turmeric.. hence the advertizing is creating a demand for the goods.

these days there is a resurgence of natural products… people who were earlier blindly aping the west are now turning around and re-embracing their culture…

Wow Ankur, you have touched upon a subject on which I constantly lament about! And your comment here (the 2nd comment) is absolutely true. I think, just like many other things, in our bid to yap the west, we have failed to appreciate and value our own treasures. Saying “I use this gel, shampoo, bodyspray…” seems more hep than saying “I use shikakai, turmeric and neem”. But I still stick to our own traditional things – mostly! except maybe soap. And I can assert that any day, our own cosmetics and ways of life are much much healthier than any other artificial product and more importantly, devoid of any ill side effects!

And what has irked me the most is how we have fallen prey to plastic bags. I remember how even the flower vendor used banana or some other leaf but today its plastic plastic plastic bag everywhere. Seeing a recent ppt from greenpeace, I made it a point not to use plastic bags anymore. I re-use old ones or carry a bag.

Hi Ravi,

I still remember the days when the flower vendor used to knit together the flowers on a fibre from the banana tree and not on a twine like these days.

Even the hair combs were made of wood.

As you said, our natural products are healthier and devoid of side effects. They also do not pollute the enivornment.

VBR, long time no see? How are you?
Adding to your point on the fibre from banana tree, there is also a reason to it.
If you notice, the fibre is first soaked in water inorder for the fibre to absorb
it. So when the flowers are tied using this fibre, the moisture/water in the fibre
extend the flowers’ freshness to some extent. I don’t know if the cotton twine
of today can serve the same purpose.

great insight, this post reminds me how we lived in yester years and the fact that we have adapted to ‘cosmo’ life. i generally don’t encourage plastic given in stores except when i happen to visit shopping malls. however, i recycle paper. probably same can be said of khadi (once very popular) being not hep among us.

indians must have become more fashion-centric than environment-friendly. however with current environment challenges, we might expect some changes.

Hi Ravi,

I am fine. Presume the same with you.

What you said about the fibre is true. And the flowers were also wrapped in Banana leaves, as you said. That gave a sweet smell too.

@ Bhanu Kishore

you are right. Khadi was once popular. But I still buy Khadi clothes. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I buy them and also when I wear them.

If one visits the Khadi Gramodhya Bhavan, you can also buy many other things. Most of the things are natural products. There are also products/sweets/savouries which once were popular and are diminishing these days.

As you said, due to the challenges, we might expect the changes soon to happen.

I must also point out that there are sure a bunch of people who still follow the traditional/non-polluting ways.

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