Preserving Nostalgia - Summer & slow living
Hello green folks! Meet Surabhi Ganguly, the co-founder of The Wagabond Chefs & The CoCo Market – a sustainable, earth-friendly & handmade market in Pune. The Wagabond Chefs will be writing a monthly column here at Gorgeous Girls Go Green about their take on green living, sustainability, slow lifestyle and everything in between. Here’s the first in the series about the delicious stuff summer holidays were made of.
Handing over the page to Surabhi Ganguly:
#slowsummer #summerholiday My journey with #sustainablechoices has me frequently swinging between present and past – memories of my childhood keep coming back every time I make a conscious #eco-friendly choice. With my constant effort in this direction, you can imagine that I am often overcome with #nostalgia.
The #summervacations are probably our most prized memories – my home had no television so we were forced to find creative ways to stay occupied through the summers. Between the structured activities of sports coaching and dance classes, there was plenty of time to also potter around the house, where there would typically be a large gathering of people on a regular basis. Ganguly badi it was called – the place where everybody came to hang out, young or old. Buzzing with lively conversations, games and impromptu cultural events, our home ran like a guest house, and the whole crowd was regularly fed simple, home cooked meals.
Somehow the gang always found its way around the kitchen, where there was always plenty to do. Peeling fruits for a fruit salad, shelling a mountain of peas, brewing wines out of local fruits, baking bread, or trying hard to maintain a vegetable patch – there was always something unusual afoot and everybody participated whole-heartedly.
Those were simpler times, when electronic entertainment had not yet raided our pockets and hand bags, and my home more so, resisting the invasion of even a television for the longest time. We did, however have a computer, and were encouraged to know more about how it worked – but that seemed like studying so we didn't use it too much. We would usually be contained in our neighbourhood, and made friends with those who lived nearby. We would recognize the milk man and the man who ran the local wheat mill, and would have a personal rapport with the bakery and the vegetable vendor.
Direct interactions also meant there was a sense of trust, and there was a commitment to live up to expectations. The expectation to deliver what is expected, as well as the expectation to remain loyal as a customer to the same vendor. The local community remained self sufficient and sustainable, and worked as a support group for all its members.
I wonder what would be the nostalgic memories we are creating for our children today? Of long commutes and endless traffic jams, or of using travel time to catch up on phone calls and facebook? Using an app that brings the supermarket to your doorstep or calling customer service when an egg in the carton of six arrives broken? Opening a packet of “fortified wheat flour” with a pair of scissors, or neatly arranging the pre-packed, pre cut vegetables in the refrigerator?
As a society, there is now a massive disconnect between a product and its source, and this is specially visible in food choices. How will this affect the future habits and routines that the children of today will have?
We belong to a lucky generation, where we still have memories of a simpler time, and can count on them to bring us back to our roots when we feel lost. We still have the ability to remember what it was like before, and make conscious choices for today, that support ourselves as well as the environment. Without these memories, I would be lost, especially in this modern and commercial world of packaging, processing and branding. Without my childhood connection to food and its sources, I would lack the skills needed to make healthy food and routine choices in my adulthood.
Start small, start simple, but perhaps it is time to bring in some old school habits into our modern lifestyles, just so that today's children will have something to be nostalgic about! Maybe cook a meal together, or make a visit to the local farmers market. Do something that will help them make better choices in the future. It is time to preserve nostalgia!
Surabhi Ganguly and Tanya Kane together form The Wagabond Chefs. They run a monthly sustainable market in Pune called The CoCo Market, aimed at creating a conscious community that adopts sustainable lifestyles. Know more about them at Slyly Simple.