About Me

Someone who fell in love with the natural world early on and has been smitten ever since. A blade of grass, a mighty mountain, a tiny raindrop, a roaring waterfall, all fill me with awe and wonder. Nature feels home, filled with warmth and love. It pains my heart to see this home being ravaged. This blog is an effort to find tweaks in modern living to preserve the sanctity of this home. I sincerely hope that you join me in this green karmic journey.

Monday, 25 November 2013

One Should Borrow, One Should Lend......

"Never borrow, never lend, if you want to keep a friend" goes an old saying. Generally, I am a sucker for all things old and wise, but here, I do beg to differ. I vote for borrowing and lending for two reasons. One is environmental, the other is social.

You need it, you buy it - that's the mantra and the force behind consumerism. 
You have a party - instead of borrowing dishes, you go and buy disposables. 
You want to read a book - instead of asking around your friends, you go ahead and buy it. 
For the simple reason that you can afford it. This affordability is ruining our planet. On one hand, we are ravaging our resources for increased manufacturing and on the other, we are choking the planet by disposing indiscriminately. After all, in order to keep on buying, we have to keep on disposing too. It's a double whammy for the poor earth!

Why do affluent people have weaker community ties? Because they don't depend on anybody for anything. Whatever one needs, one buys it. You hesitate in asking your neighbours/ friends for help. It is much more convenient to buy stuff than to maintain relationships. 

In my childhood days, items of occasional use were freely borrowed and lent. That big kadahi (wok) for making sweets in bulk, that hamamdasta (a type of mortar and pestle) for pounding spices, that tall stool for reaching upper shelves, that special hoe for uprooting a difficult shrub, that set of x numbered knitting needles.....all were easily borrowed and gladly lent. 

We kids were dispatched to get the desired tools and weren't we willing messengers! Not only were we treated to goodies by neighbours, we also got to get together with our friends and found a few out-of-turn minutes of play. In short, borrowing and lending led to increased communication in a community. However, for this communication to stay positive, one should follow a few rules.

Borrowing comes with a set of caveats:

1. Know what can be borrowed and from whom:
You should have the wisdom to know which things can be asked for and  from whom. For e.g. you might borrow an expensive piece of clothing from your mom or sister but not from an acquaintance. A good way to know if you are welcome to borrow is to float your requirement. If someone volunteers to lend you, well and good, if not, use your good sense.You should think of borrowing only when you are very comfortable with that person and ready to lend to her too when the need arises.

2. Take care of the borrowed item:
You have to take utmost care of the borrowed item. Return it in the same or even better condition. A friend of mine borrowed a carpet from me. Before returning, she got it cleaned and it looked fresher than before. I wouldn't mind lending to her again!

3. Return it ASAP:
Return the borrowed thing as soon as possible. Don't hold on to it after your work is done. At any rate, don't wait till the lender has to ask for it.

4. Care for it: 
Ask for any special care or instructions in using. In case you damage the borrowed item, inform the owner and get it repaired.

5. No sub-lending:
Don't sub-lend the item, at least not without the lender's permission.

6. Don't borrow consumables:
Avoid borrowing consumables like flour, sugar, potatoes, milk....you get the drift. It won't save the earth as the other person still has to refill them. If you have to borrow, return it in some way or the other.

7. Be ready to lend:
Lastly, don't hesitate in returning the favour when the need arises.

Lending has its own set of concerns:

1. Learn to say 'No' politely:
If you are not comfortable lending a particular thing, let it be known politely. for e.g. if you don't like to lend your eye make-up or lipstick, explain the hygiene factor behind it. Avoid borrowing from friends who come up with unreasonable demands.

2. Don't hesitate to give instructions: 
If there are any set of instructions for using the lent item, let the person know in advance.(For e.g. I don't like my books to be read in a loo. Take note!)

3. Take damages in your stride:
If the item gets damaged and the borrower doesn't get it repaired or replaced, take it in your stride. Don't spoil a relationship over a broken tool.

I am fortunate to have a set of friends with whom I can borrow at ease. A few things I would particularly like to borrow and lend are books and toys for my daughter. She is three and at this age, kids need a variety of stimuli. There is a limit to the number of toys and books one can buy. If like-minded friends decide to exchange toys and books, this would lead to more sustainable living.

How comfortable are you with borrowing and lending? What are your views on it? Do you think it would help the first R- 'REDUCE'? Leave your comments and let's have a discussion.

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