Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The seeding thoughts sown on a train journey…….by Mrs. Minal Gurav (Grade 4 Teacher)

Back in college I was travelling to some inner parts of Maharashtra by train with a troupe of performers. The troupe had a mix of all age groups, and I was one of the youngest. We were doing all things that are characteristic to train journeys, singing, eating oranges, sharing packed snacks, chatting with co-passengers and so on. Then as part of the same endless chatting, eating and snacking one of us peeled an orange, and looked around to check where to discard the peels, and then without giving it much thought, tossed it out of the window. One of the senior troupe members, with her beautiful expressive eyes expressed shock without using a single word. Then she explained the reason behind that expression, and explained to us why littering was not ok. Then another senior member was a student of life science joined in, and added her perspective. She said that littering was definitely not ok, but right now the train was passing through greener patches, and there were trees around. So it was still fine to throw ‘biodegradable’ stuff but throwing aluminum foils and so on was completely unacceptable. I asked her what biodegradable was and she explained it with a beautiful hand gesture to show that the earth can take it and turn it into soil. Till date I have a crystal clear memory of the scene. Not like it was dramatic, but I guess it had an impact since I was also at an impressionable age.

However, this seemingly uneventful incident has been a starting point of a thought process that has driven me into conscious living. It has wired my mind to make a constant assessment of what is bio degradable and what is not. This continued and it brought me to a decision of ‘minimum waste living’. How do you live in a manner that most things you use are re-usable. You don’t mindlessly pick up anything without thinking of how much unnecessary packaging the product has which will add to waste. For example: You would come home, take that toothpaste carton and toss ti in the bin, it is a sheer waste, why can’t tooth pastes be sold just as they are without that carton?

This has continued and now one tries to see that the bio degradable waste from home is re-cycled into compost, and the citrus waste is re-cycled to make non-chemical all purpose household cleaners.

This train event I have shared here is significant to my mind simply because of its ordinariness. It is so crucial that one gets exposed to different life situations, different people and ‘life’ is the real teacher. Schools can only ensure that they bring such moments of ‘learning’ to you. But life is full of it. And when we are ready we absorb it.

In Waldorf our mentors have given us one very important lesson, you can only provide and create appropriate experiences for children. You can actually never teach, you can only facilitate by being a catalyst.

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