Growing up in a home with a large, extended family on limited income, my siblings and I learnt to be satisfied with the meager resources that were available at home. Despite our raise in standards over time, the mindset of living with less has remained a habit to me. One such example is when my grandmother would chastise us for leaving the fan or light turned on in a different room or using more than a bucket of water to take a bath. Her ideals were not based on the passion for environmental sustainability or care for the depleting resources but were forthrightly to reduce the monthly electricity and water bill. It is only in recent adulthood have I understood the paramount importance of that experience. I believe my passion for tying sustainability with engineering derives from these childhood incidences where reducing our carbon footprint was our survival instinct. The ideal situation would be to quickly instill this psychology into the as many people’s minds as possible.
To reduce my carbon footprint, I live a minimalistic life. As the youngest in the family, I rarely got new clothes. The clothes I wore came from my older sisters and cousins. This made me really lax about what clothes I wore. Although, it bothered me at first, I learnt to receive them with happiness. Fast forward to six months ago, I observed a tremendous growth in things I owned. I just had to halt and reflect. Since then, I decided to practice minimalism in numerous ways. I wear only white T-shirts and I own only one pair of slippers, sandals, jeans, bag, etc. The idea is to resist the temptation to own multiple copies of the same object and purchasing only essential items.
These days I am trying to do something that may seem more monotonous, but to me, it’s more exciting. I have decided to change my attire to only white T-shirts and jeans on a daily basis – this means wearing the same clothes every day. Here are the reasons for my switch:
- Nanaji (my grandfather) passed away in December 2017, following which I wore white kurta-pyjama for two days in a row. After a few days, I continued with my usual attire, wearing something different every day. I switched to white T-shirts because it is attached to memories of nanaji. I want this to be a tribute to his life and the service he provided throughout his lifetime.
- I believe that we should all consider ourselves beautiful, however, not to the extent of being vain and vaunting about ourselves. In order to practise this, I chose a very simple and powerful colour, white. In fact, no other colour really came to my mind. I saw myself in the mirror with a white T-shirt and blue jeans, and I felt satisfied in my appearance. I believe that this attire is simple enough to keep me grounded and will help me to learn to rise above the concept of personal vanity.
- The best reason for this switch is not having a choice. This is not immuring me of all the wonderful clothes I could be wearing, but it is liberating me above the choices that may define my every morning.
- This may seem ironic, but wearing different clothes everyday seems to be the norm. I wanted to try something aberrant. This is merely for my self-confidence. Whenever we try to do something that is out of the ordinary, it only enables us to enamour ourselves more.
- I am well aware that in the coming year, I will be moving for my graduate studies to a different state. For that, I must try to reduce the number of my assets to make the moving business more convenient. Having less number of clothes would reduce the luggage I would need to transport, in return, saving costs.
- Shopping can be very time consuming. Previously, I have spent hours and sometimes, days, trying to find that perfect jeans or T-shirt or suit that would satisfy my hunger for new clothes. Essentially now, I never need to go clothes shopping since that process has become so much easier. I already know what I want and the only aspect I need to adjust to is the size. I can easily minimize that by sticking to the same brand and style.
- Buying a white T-shirt can be very cost effective. A T-shirt could cost less than $5 and owning 5 or 6 is more than enough to last a whole week. Since I am very parsimonious, I am always finding ways to save as much and using the savings to the betterment of the family, friends and society.
First of all, the community I have grown up and lived in is very important to me, which is why I have to become able enough to take care of my mum, two sets of aunt and uncle, and a professor friend. I must have a house where I can serve these important ones before they start becoming dependent.
Besides my family, I want to serve others too. I realize that the privilege that I have been born into or acquired is not easily accessible to various others, for example, the kind of education I have received (especially the prestigious schools), the exposure to a progressive environment and opportunities, a community of loving nature, etc. Many children and even adults may experience trauma because of not having these privileges and I want to share my privilege with as many people as possible. This is where I contribute through my “Money Spent Right” initiative.
This is great. Solar panels have found their way to rural areas. We found a number of them at different shops here in Hargaon, Sitapur.
The rural areas makes you realize the ample opportunities and resources already available that need to be utilized to their upmost capabilities to make a country great. Many people are in poverty not because they don’t work hard enough enough, but because there are no external opportunities available for such growth. These people require a helping hand and an initial push.