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Saturday 19 December 2015

Ring Out The New, Ring In The Old, I say!

Skimping, Sparing, Salvaging sound like such obnoxious terms, most likely to be attributed to someone's miserly demeanor. 
In today's times, living life king-size is the Mantra everyone is chanting! Nothing is too much, you cannot go overboard enough when it comes to luxe-living. 
Be it exotic food commodities, high-flying lifestyle products, globe-trotting exclusive holidays etc. Splurge, splurge and splurge some more! 
Our life-carts are over-brimming with all sorts of goodies and unwarranted requirements, that are pampering to the senses, detrimental to health and pandering to an insatiable demand.

Overflowing carts at marts!

E-commerce has made Shopping a global Affliction!

These contemplations triggered flash-back images and memories of the spartan lives our older generation led, when needs were simple, means were average and resources scarce!

I am delving into personal and shared memories that unravel the nostalgia of simple middle-class living replete with small pleasures and large memories. And adding to these memories is a sprinkling of thrifty tips on leading a parsimonious domestic life from grandma's cornucopia of wisdom.....

  • Of contended vacations spent in the ancestral village home playing board games, cards with cousins under the slow-moving blades of the sole fan that worked when the temperamental electric supply permitted.
  • Grandma walking 3 km to the lake and back to have her bath, wash her clothes and return home with a bundle of laundry and a pot of clear drinking water on her hip.
  • The excitement of wearing your cousin-sister's hand-me-down pavadai (long skirt) at the family wedding, teamed with another cousin's blouse and a third's bangles.

Tip#1: While cooking, avoid cluttering the sink with vessels that can be reused for cooking with just a simple rinse. Keep refrigerated items to be reheated outside at normal temperature for some time, to reduce reheating time and save heat resource.

  • The thrill of the chilly, sweet ice-lolly hitting your tongue on a sweltering day, after waiting eternally to hear the solitary ice-lolly seller call out his lusty.....'ICE-CREAM' pushing along his wooden cart.

  • Viewing, reviewing, appreciating, criticizing every millimeter of each of the thirty-six 4"x6" B/W photographs neatly pasted in the wedding album with thick black pages interspersed with gossamer thin patterned tracing paper. The ecstasy of finding your tiny face peeking out in between the newly married couple is incomparable!

  • Grandma and other womenfolk churning out tins and tins of savouries and sweets from the smoke-filled kitchens. The aroma of fresh ghee infused Mysore-Pak could turn you delirious with anticipation. No Lays/Kurkure/Chocopie can take their place!

Tip#2:  A thin slurry of rice/ wheat/ gram flour depending on the dish, added with proper stirring, and bringing the whole mixture to a gradual boil, thickens your preparation's consistency and thereby its quantity.

  • The evening supper for the kids - wholesome curd-rice doled out onto the outstretched palms of the ravenous little monsters sitting in a group. In a matter of minutes a large vessel of the same would be empty, the large platoon of kids satiated with minimum fuss!
  • Entertainment was, playing Blind-man's buff, Chor-Police, Sakhli, Pandi/Langdi, with friends, learning to cycle on hired cycles, or if you already knew cycling, practice slow-cycling/hands-free cycling! Exploring the hillock behind your home always was a thrilling adventure, you never knew what new insects you would encounter there or how many luscious berries you would forage that day. You never realized where the day went by, and if you felt lazy to go out, you could just spend time curled up with your dog-eared novels and bound comics or team with friends to create magnificent artworks with pencil shavings, old craft-paper, broken glass-bangle pieces, pebbles and shells. Boredom did not exist!

  • Envying your friend for possessing a near immaculate copy of BalBharti which he inherited from his elder sister, while trying to paste the loose pages of your own third-hand copy.

Tip#3: Always prepare a little extra handful of rice/couple of extra rotis - or whatever you prepare. It is handy to have a little extra of something filling, with growing children in the house.

  • Glugging with relish the freshly prepared 'Rasna'- 36 glasses pack, after helping Mom prepare the rather 'complex Concentrate recipe' (when you compare how easily you can prepare Tang!). Regularly checking the fridge to check the level of the 'Juice Concentrate' stored in the carefully saved glass 'squash' bottles.....just in case your sibling had downed a few extra glasses in your absence!
  • Handing over the not-yet-through toothpaste tube to Dad, who would then beat it to a foil to extract the last bit of paste. Then saving the used nickel foil for recycling.
  • Wrinkling your nose in disgust every time you came anywhere near the bag of stored milk packets saved for people still do it?
 Tip#4: Freshly washed Hibiscus/Shoeflower leaves rubbed against a rough surface and then squeezed yields the most natural Chemical-free hair shampoo, while soaking orange peel in milk for an hour and applying that milk acts a wonderful skin whitener and toner!

  • Stamp-collecting, coin-collecting and letter-writing to pen-pals were considered top-notch hobbies one could indulge in. Envelopes with foreign stamps were treated with utmost reverence. The stamps carefully dislodged from them (under expert Grand-parent supervision) and proudly added to the stamp-book. The envelopes were then secreted away for safe-keeping and revisiting.


  • The high-point in life was shopping for new clothes, only Diwali, your birthday, and functions in the family warranted such extravaganza. This activity was a month-long-sometimes-longer entertainer! From fabric procurement to getting the same tailored and fitted to satisfaction!
  • Weekend recreation was landing up at relatives’ homes, of course unannounced! The once a month (actually longer than that) eat-out was at the Bhel-Chaat shop, with dessert of the best Kulfi – 100gms in mixed flavors of Mango, Chickoo, Malai and Pista!

Tip#5: Frayed Terry Towels cut up to required sizes with edges hemmed, make for excellent washcloths.

  • The joy of haggling and bargaining hard is a lost art in today's mall/online shopping culture! The satisfaction one got post this exercise - unbeatable! In fact both the buyer and the seller enjoyed this healthy banter, so much so that, a seller felt cheated if you - the regular bargain queen decided to promptly pay the stated amount and walk away with the purchase!
  • The thrill of sleeping in an Air-Conditioned room, either in a hotel or at a prosperous relative's home! When having a Car, Telephone and A.C were like the point of arrival in society!
  • Ordering food at the restaurant all the while looking at the right-side of the Menu card!
 Tip#6: Buying foodgrains like rice, wheat, millets, pulses in bulk works out cheaper. One can preserve these naturally by keeping them in bright sunlight over a period of 2-3 days, and then storing them in containers with bunches of dried Neem leaves as an insect-repellant.

There is no telling how long I could go on, reminiscing the good ol' days, but then I want to hear your stories too!

Do share some tales from your repository of happy memories.
And don't forget to share your share of Tricks and Trivia to help save some pennies! 

The gist of the whole post is that, sometimes it may not be a bad idea to look back in life, at our past, at our origins. We owe a large percentage of success in our present day to past learnings! 

Let us rewind life a little, learn to relax more, care and share more time and love. 
Reduce Reuse and Recycle where-ever and whenever possible.

Ringing out the New and Ringing in the Old can be good for us!

Take care of your pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves!
And don't heed the - Penny-wise, Pound-foolish - thingy!

Saturday Word Play 11

Parsimony(n), Parsimonious(adj.)

Parsimony (n): Extreme unwillingness to spend money or use resources.

#SaturdayWordPlay -Saturday Wordplay is a weekly word prompt series started by my friend and #blogbuddy Aditi Kaushiva. 
This week's word 'Parsimonious' has been suggested by yours truly and thus I am co-hosting this link up together with Aditi. 
Get inspired and write whatever, fiction, humor, poetry etc. comes to your mind using this word and link up below.

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