Criminal to Use Plastic

I always make it a point to read Anuja’s column whenever she writes for HT. Its always refreshing to read her article as she has that witty punch to pretty much everything she writes.

Crime is rampant in Shelila’s city – people are breaking the law left, right and centre. Wherever I go, I spot shameless, unrepentant, hardened criminals, repeat offenders every one of them, committing the same crime again and again. With complete impunity, sare aam, sabke saamne. Some of them are salwar-kameezencased auntyjis, others fresh-faced college girls. Some of them are little children, Or grown men, Or even pace-maker fitted octogenarians.

Hello! I want to tell them — that’s a plastic panni in your hand! Those things are clogging up our city, choking our children and poisoning our land. And if that doesn’t bother you, get this. You will have to pay a fine of one lakh rupees or spend up to five years in prison for using plastic bags. That’s more time than Sanjay Dutt did counting both his terms together! But of course, nobody gives a damn. At the Big Bazaar in Ambience Mall, everything you buy is promptly dropped in a plastic bag. Ditto with Lifestyle. And the Shoppers Stop.

And if you say something naïve like “Ho ji, plastic bag, they’ve been banned”, the staff merely smirks at you in a superior kind of way because they’ve all discovered this new word microns. “Madum, this bag is more than 40 microns,” the staffer says in this know-all way. “So, it’s okay.” It’s the equivalent of what those obnoxious people who keep their cellphones on in aeroplanes are always saying when you bug them to switch it off. “My phone is in flight mode, so it’s okay.” But it’s not really okay, is it, punk? Half the time, they don’t even have the flight mode option on their phones! Still, it’s high time our lawmakers started to actually act on their threats. At the moment, people take them as seriously as kids take their parents when they say, “If you don’t stop picking your nose, I’ll throw you out!” Personally? I’ve made the big switch from plastic to jute. Firstly, as I’ll probably never be Secretary General of the UN, it’s my only chance to do something for the planet Secondly, because it’s a relatively painless transition (much easier than switching from air-conditioning to ceiling fans, say.) And thirdly, because it gives me this moral high. I now speak to vegetarians without feeling even a twinge of inferiority

Anuja Chauhan works in advertising. She is also the author of the best-selling The Zoya Factor.

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