• Vedashree Khambete Sharma

Say ‘Ho’ to Plastic

My people have a thing for plastic bags. And when I say ‘my people’, I don’t mean just my family, who do, but Maharashtrians in general.

Whenever a Marathi family walks out of a swanky shop, they’ll keep away the plastic bag almost as carefully as the thing that came in it. Hundreds of plastic bags are treasured out of sight, usually pressed carefully between two mattresses, or shoved in the gap between cupboards so as to avoid creasing them. You’d think they’d stop collecting after the first couple of hundred bags, yes? No.

Plastic bag storage reaches a point where it looks like there’s something growing between two cupboards, something that will sooner or later spawn the Antichrist. And if the storage space in question is between two mattresses, rest assured* that the slipperiness caused will create the overall effect of a waterbed with a homicidal personality.

Why, you ask. Why this strange tendency to hoard things that are used for garbage disposal, for crying out loud? I asked this question once. The answer I got was this: “Well, what if we happen to need one?”

I haven’t asked that question again. But I’ve rebelled in my own little way. Whatever plastic bags enter my home through my many shopping trips are quickly used at bin-liners, before my parents can get their hands on them, and sentence them to an eternity as filling in a mattress sandwich.

But I try not to judge my folks too much. See, I too collect bags. Just brown paper ones. You know, The Bombay Store ones. Stop looking at me like that. What can I say? Terrible thing, genes.

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