Nostalgia Savings Account! A Sustainable Development "Success" Story:
I grew up in a small town in the Eastern part of this country. In the late 90's the appliances in our house looked very different than what it looks like today. We can talk about the appliances some other time, today I wanted to talk about Sustainable Development hence will focus on just one - The Grinding Stone (I mean the literal one)
My grandmother, my mother even my father and grandfather (Men too! I know right, well men in my family are amazing cooks, that includes myself who cooks “almost” regularly) would use it and advocate for the richness of spices grinded using this tool.
For those of you who have used or seen it, would know that it needs maintenance! That's right! Every three months an old man would come with a hammer and chisel, will sit outside the gate (because we never discriminated on caste and class but they somehow knew their place), and spend almost half a day chiseling a layer in the stone and that too in a very beautiful pattern.
My grandmother would pay him ₹ 5/- after bargaining from the original ask of ₹ 7/-(Of course the only time women in the house could bargain was when business came home!).
Here is an income statement of that man who spent half a day with his art:
3 months*₹ 5= ₹15 every 3months from 1 House (we had loyal customers back then and did not have advertisement for such services).
Assuming half a days work for one, the probability of finding another work in limited time in which he had to walk from ghettos to ghettos, house to house was close to negligible. He would also probably like to rest for 10 minutes after that lunch and fatigue, if life permitted that is— but let’s assume he is a superhuman and that way makes ₹10 a day.
I don’t have enough data to get into an actual earning rate but, my assumption on the time and rate (excluding competition and other service providers)would be.
15 days of work a month *₹10 = ₹1500/-. (Of course that money is in billions right now if he invested and planned it well!)
Years passed! Jump to 2021, last year I came home, stayed home, started observing what I wouldn’t ever in a city. (Life in a “next upcoming" city)! One morning I just finished my meditation and was in the garden when I heard a voice “Sil Qutai" which would roughly translate to “chisel the grinding stone"!
#nostalgia… with a smile I ran towards the boundary wall to peep out and see this man from my childhood. An old, frail man with a jute bag and a chisel in his hand passed by the road.
I am so used the mixer-grinder that I never really thought about this “sustainable" tool that was “chiseled" in my memory. I went to my kitchen, I was amazed to see that my mother had this stone safely kept beside the mixer-grinder. (Don’t ask me the logic — I go by attachment issues in material world). I asked her what is the use of this stone anymore, and she responded, “culture”!.
I have seen it being used for ceremonies like marriages in my tradition. That’s it!
As I had just finished meditation and was already in a reflective state, I wanted to reflect on what happened to the man and his art post my “ Life in a city".
Every average household has a new appliance in their kitchen in “Developing Cities” — A mixer-grinder!
The art is gone, but that’s not culture so fine! Did the artisans get employed in this new appliance making industry? How did they live post the sustainable change? How much do they earn now?
The story ends here!
Thankfully! This man comes almost every alternate day, so I decided to talk to him and spend sometime following up on the story I missed! I decided to pay him ₹5/ hour for four hours along with a stool to sit and some tea. (Yes! you guessed it right! I was jobless the entire year).
₹20 every alternate day (almost) and a cup of tea for culture, nostalgia and sustainable development stories! The happiness and the sheer pleasure is a bonus of a budding relationship.
Today, I was offered a job hence I thought of keeping a nostalgia savings account to explore more appliances and sustainable stories.
I hope you find yours!