Friday, April 11, 2014

Waste to Garden Gold!

Have you ever thought of what happens to that plastic cover that you chuck into the dustbin? Or the potato peels? Or the leftover slice of Pizza? Do you throw them all into the same bin or do you separate them?

 If you aren't segregating your waste at home--you really should.

Pic courtesy : Dailydump.org


The fact is big Indian cities produce about 3000 tonnes of waste a day, at the very least. Most of them are dumped into illegal dumps just on the outskirts of the city. Organic waste from your kitchen is 60 percent water. The municipal department spends money transporting this waste! If  we do our bit, we can manage our waste at home, thus saving resources and time, that can be utilised better for other things like education and infrastructure.

Organic waste  really does not need to  travel. Also, thousands of people in our country are rag-pickers who make a living out of scavenging in the waste bins and selling the plastic dumped there. If the plastic is not covered in rotten food, left over chicken curry, vegetable peels and other things, they can earn more.

If you cook at home regularly, then your kitchen itself generates about 750 gms to 1000 gms of raw material every day. Of course you can segregate it and throw it out ---but there is a better way to manage it. How?

You can make your own compost! And it isn't hard at all.

I started doing it almost an year back and I am super pleased with the results.
This is how I do it:




 First I invested  in the above kit. It is not very expensive and also it is a one time investment that is going to pay you rich dividends. If I remember right, I paid around Rs.1200 for the above three containers. However, if you do not want the containers, you can also use pots.(They are a lot cheaper)

 I bought my kit from Pelican Biotech. In Bangalore, there is also Daily Dump. (from which the above information has been condensed).   Do check out their website --they do some fabulous work. Do find out the organizations in your city that are similar.

One also needs to buy comp-absorb, which costs around Rs.125/- for a 5 kg bag. The bag will last you for more than 2 months.

Next, you line the bottom of the first pot with newspaper. Then you add a layer of comp-absorb.


 Now you are ready to go.

You begin by adding the organic kitchen waste. Do not add rotten food.


After a 2 inch layer of kitchen waste is added, you add the comp-absorb. The process continues till the container is filled. Then it goes right to the bottom and the next container comes to the top, and the same process continues. There is absolutely no smell if you do it right.

If you have any questions  do check out both the links above, which answer in great detail, the process for home composting.

By the time the third container is full, the first container (that you placed right at the bottom) will be full of dark, rich organic compost! Look at the compost I made.(Have planted sunflower  and Bhindi in it)



 This is a superb medium and you can put the plants right in. Even if you do not have a garden, trust me you will want to, once you see the compost that you have made! (In any case, even if you just chuck it outside, you are still doing the environment, society and yourself a massive favour by composting!)

Here is one of the plants that I have grown in my compost:




And here is the rock-garden that Satish and I made. (Many of the containers have the compost that I made)




Inspired?

You are sitting on a mine of garden gold. Don't waste the waste It isn't that hard. It just takes five minutes of your time to segregate and dump right, once it is set up.


Now, go do it!


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Monday, March 31, 2014

A step in the right direction

A good friend of mine has this quote as his status message on gmail:

"Sometimes a step in the right direction may begin with a thousand steps in the wrong."


 This picture I clicked, when I went on a walk. It reminded me of the quote.

No matter what the past, you can always begin anew.
All it takes is a step in the right direction.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

5 questions to take you closer to your goals.



Sometimes our families limit us without intending to do so. We grow up with beliefs so strongly embedded that it might be hard to even visualize a different perspective. If it's a family with more than one child, invariably parents end up comparing the two, despite best of intentions, not to. Even in a family with a single child, one may end up 'conforming to a pre-determined role'. (The responsible one, the dare-devil, the singer, the comedian etc).

One child may get labelled 'Performer' and other may get labelled 'Under-achiever'. These labels may not be direct, but as children, we pick up so many unsaid things through so many actions of our parents. The labels may be just  inside our heads, but they stick on, long into adulthood.

The 'under-achiever'  may be really smart. He/she may top the school academically, might have many laurels, and yet deep down may feel inadequate because of early comparisons made at home. We carry our beliefs deep into adulthood, and we don't pause and reflect. We simply live with these. but sometimes a little reflection helps.

Here are five questions to ask yourself, that will need some thinking from your side.

1. What label are you holding on to? Think and reflect.
2. If you did not bother about what your family would say or how they would react what is the one thing you would  want to do?
3.Do you think that your sibling or your dad/mom or any other family member is better than you? In what way? Why?
4. Is above the absolute truth or do you think a neutral observer will have a different opinion?
5. What are you going to do about it?

The Sunflower and Zinnia are two completely  different flowers, that need a large dose of sunlight. Both are beautiful in their own way. If you are a sunflower, do not try and want to be a Zinnia!

Both have their places in the sun.
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photo credit: adwriter via photopin cc

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cosmopolitan India. March issue. @cosmoindia #cosmoindia

 Hi folks,

Here's a bit of nice news from my side:


Got featured in the March issue of Cosmopolitan India! :)
 The story is on 'Top 8 jobs you want'. They had conducted an online poll and being an author was right among the top most coveted jobs.



Cosmo flew me down to Delhi for the shoot. It was a fabulous experience and lots of fun. They did make me feel like a supermodel with the best make-up artists and the best photographers as well as the very talented Cosmo stylists. The features editor was warm and friendly.

For the whole story, do go and pick up the Cosmo  March issue which is now on the stands.

The interview that appears in Cosmo is edited a bit. Here is what i would have liked to add:




Q: Why is being an author your dream job?

Several reasons
  1. I am my own boss and I report to no-one. I can take as long as I want or as little time as I want to complete a novel.
  2. I have total creative freedom—I can play God.
  3. I get invited to speak at premier Institutions like IITs and IIMs.
  4. My work is therapy for me. It is a huge stress buster. I forget everything when I write.
  5. I have a portable office that travels with me everywhere! All I need is a laptop, to work.
 

Q:. What are the qualities required to be a successful author?

First and foremost is discipline.  You have to be disciplined and persistent enough to keep writing till your novel is completed. The other qualities would be a large dose of imagination, ability to research, empathy so you can get into the heads of your characters and of course a good grasp of the language you are writing in. Also, when you write, you are exposing yourself completely and that needs a lot of courage too .You also need to read a lot!


Q. What are the work hours like?

It varies and entirely depends on the person. You can decide your own working hours. I have written five books since 2008. I tend to work for about  for about 5-6,hours a day and this includes time spent on research, time spent on connecting with your readers on social media and actual writing. But this is only when I am writing a book. Closer to the book launch I tend to work 14-16 hours a day. There are days when I have worked round the clock too, and hardly slept!


Q. What's the best part about your job?

The fact that I can sit  at home, with my dog cuddling up next to me, while I am working! Also, I can take an off whenever I like and I have no fixed hours, plus I report to nobody except myself. I can turn up for work in my night clothes if I feel like it. Also when people tell me that my words have made an impact on their life, it is an all-time high.

Q:. What's the worst part about your job?

I enjoy it so much that I can’t think of a single negative! But I can tell you about a nightmare that happened to me. I was 25000 words into a new novel that I was working on. I had the plot, the outlines and everything else that would go into it, planned. Then a new book by an Irish author came out into the market, and I was horrified to discover that the plot eerily was very similar to the one I was working on! I of course, squished my entire work and abandoned it completely and felt bad for days.


Q. What's your honest advice for young women who want to become award-winning authors?

Awards like the Booker prize, Pulitzer Prize and are mostly given to literary fiction. Ask yourself what kind of writing that you want to do. Do you want to write a romance, a fantasy, a thriller, a historical fiction or any other genre that you may think of?  Then study the kind of work in that genre which has won literary awards. You will thus get a fair idea of the kind of writing that it requires. Make your reading wide and varied. Join a writers group, take classes at a University and keep writing.

There are several authors whose books have sold millions of copies and are always on the best-seller lists, but haven’t won any awards.

For me personally, my biggest validation comes from my readers, who write in and tell me that they could relate to my book, and they saw themselves in my writing.



Hope you found the above useful!

Good luck to all of you out there, aspiring to be authors.
Just write!

Love
Preeti
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ps: My latest book has been getting  some fabulous reviews. Buy it from Amazon just Rs.99/- for a limited period!