During my recent visit to India, I was looking to take a bath. So I ran the tap to fill a plastic bucket for a bucket bath (only bath from a bucket is possible at my parents house in Pilani – there is not enough water pressure for showers). After 5 minutes I noticed that the bucket was not filling up despite good flow of water from the tap. Upon closer inspection I noticed that the reason was that there was a hole in the base of the bucket.
“Ma, the purpose of the bucket is to hold water. Now if there is a hole in the bucket, why do you still keep it in the bathroom. I ended up wasting a lot of water because I did not see the hole in the bottom”, I complained to my mother.
“It was a new bucket and one of the workers, working on a recent home project, made the hole. I did not want to throw it. So I figured out a way to use it”, my mother said.
“Use a bucket with a hole in it? How?”, I was truly mystified.
“I use it to drain water from wet clothes, after a wash. The water drains by itself and so I have to wring the clothes less”, my mother said with a victorious look.
This is when it stuck me how different the mindsets toward conservation and being green are in India compared to the US. In India people of my parents generation use everything to the fullest extent possible – sometimes even beyond that. They are loathe to throwing anything even a bucket with a hole in it. Perhaps we can still learn something about being green and being conscientious consumers from our parents…