Mumbai plastic ban

“I have cleared my house of all the plastic bags. I cannot afford to pay Rs 5,000 as fine.”

“Madam, they are saying that they will come to check our houses to see if we have plastic. Do you think they will come?”

“Everyone on the road is carrying cloth bags today. Who wants to pay fine? ”

“Vegetable vendors are telling us to go home and bring a bag. None of them have plastic bags.”

“Will it be alright to carry this water bottle? I won’t be caught and fined, right?”

The Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018 that imposes a ban on several disposable items (wef 23rd June 2018) would appear extreme, but citizens in general seem to be quite serious about following the rules. Unlike earlier times, consumers are being held liable for abuse of plastic/disposables, and the penalties for non-compliance are steep.

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Anne Frank

Anne Frank
12th Jun 1929 – Feb/Mar 1945
(died before her 16th birthday)

Anne Frank statue
Anne Frank Monument (by sculptor Mari Andriessen) at Westerkerk, near the Anne Frank Huis

Anne Frank would have been 89 today. One can say that she’d have had a fair chance of still being alive (her dad Otto Frank lived beyond 91, even after spending time in a concentration camp), if not for the Gestapo who dug the family out of 25 months of hiding (Jul 1942 – Aug 1944)… from this building no. 263 on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam.

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Our games teacher, gone on

“Stomachs in, bottoms in, chests out.” We would all tighten our muscles and hold our breath.

“Left, left, right, left, right… Now don’t balloon out like the back of a bus.” I was glad I could escape the marching and be on the basketball court instead.

Those who studied at Baldwin Girls’ High School in the 1970s and 1980s would find these lines echoing in their ears. This could be only Mrs Jeanne Roby, getting the girls to perfect their marching in preparation for sports day. The school annual sports day is still held with such precision and finesse that I dare say few other schools in this world would even come close.

As a sportsgirl, one couldn’t have asked for more support from a games teacher than what was given by Mrs Roby. Whatever the sport facilitated by the school – athletics, basketball, gymnastics, swimming, throwball, kho-kho… whistle around her neck, floppy cap to shield herself from the sun, she’d be there to train, guide, referee, advise.

Judy, Mrs Roby’s daughter (who had played basketball for Karnataka) was my first basketball coach when I made the school team in Std 6. We always looked forward to the inter-school basketball matches. We had some of the best players in the city, making our team one of the favourites at all the tournaments held in Bangalore. At the matches, Judy would be calling us “cows” when we dropped a pass, and we’d get blasted with a battery of other words when a layup wasn’t basket-ted, but we’d have Mrs Roby on the sideline consoling us and urging us to forget the misses.

Sometimes, some of us would go to her house on Hayes Road to drop back the keys of the games room, or some such small errand, and her dogs would run out to welcome us. Once she asked me to solve one real-life mathematical issue she was unable to crack, which I did!

BGHS Basketball Team Feb 1983
The Baldwin Girls Jr Basketball Team and Mrs Roby with the Inter-School Championship, Feb 1983

Mrs Roby retired from Baldwins sometime in 1985, but we would still see her around during our last year at school, when Ms Nathan took over as games teacher. We were all invited to Judy’s and Prasad’s wedding in August 1985 and soon after, she gave each of us a picture of ourselves with the newly married couple. She was there at our graduation ceremony and after it was over I pulled her aside to stand for this picture.

17-Mar-1986 with Mrs Roby
Std X graduation day with Mrs Roby, 17-Mar-1986

Living in Richmond Town, I’d see Mrs Roby now and then. She would tell me about her arthritic limbs and how she found it difficult to drive. Even after I moved from Bangalore, my mom would bump into her at the bank or post office, but not after she moved away from Sukhi Apartments and the problems of old age set in.

Teachers impact the lives of their students in various ways. I feel fortunate to have had Mrs Roby in my life during those growing up years, making me believe that I could be an asset to any team I became a part of in life ahead.

Mrs Roby Obituary
30-Dec-1929 to 4-Jun-2018

Mrs Roby was laid to rest today, and as I write this sitting in Mumbai I know she will live on in our hearts till our memories are with us. She will be sorely missed by family and friends. Sincere condolences.

Looking at Upscaled Art on Environment Day

On this World Environment Day, thought of sharing some pieces of art created out of things that would have probably been trashed. “Upscaled” is what this is called today. They’re exceptional enough to have made it to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum in Copenhagen.

Made of used automobile parts, this futuristic robot was created by Simon Blades of Italy, inspired by The Terminator. It was fun trying to identify parts of vehicles that went into the assembling the robot’s anatomy.

terminator robot

The wedding dress looked elegant and dignified and I’d have been happy to have worn it some 22 years ago! It’s made of recycled trash including plastic bags, egg cartons, cotton balls and toilet tissue. Susan Lane of USA also makes bouquets out of trash.

Tissue dress

Despite the face being partly hidden in this pic, one can tell it is Abraham Lincoln. What makes it different from other statues is that it’s made of worn-out dollar bills that the US government threw in the trash. The Indian government has something to replicate here given that they have crores of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes with them.

Lincoln dollar bills

All those torn clothes we’ve thrown out surely had buttons on them. Where did they all go? This Button Woman statue was created by Irene Freidhof and her daughter Theresa of USA. It took them 960 hours over six months to assemble and has exactly 7,989 common clothing buttons.

Button woman

Almost everything we tend to throw away can have a new life somewhere. By saving them from landfills we’ll be doing a small bit in saving our environment. A little creativity is all we need.

Information gathered from the museum
Pics taken in Copenhagen, May 1 2018