This navaratri, many homes and organisations are going in for eco-friendly kolu celebrations.
From palm leaf dhonnais for sundal to using cloth bags for packing gifts and thamboolam to using steel tumblers for serving natural drinks, these small steps are a fun way to celebrate the festival.
Puzhuthivakkam resident and practising company secretary Sucharithra Raghunathan said for the past 10 years, she has not given any plastic gifts to visitors. “I give small cloth bags with cashewnuts and raisins in them. My kolus are usually concept-based. Last year, it was on ‘guru bhakti’, the year before that it was the Mahamaham so it was Kumbakonam and the year before that it was Thingalum Thiruvizhavum. My son Kailash helps me in setting up the kolu,” she said.
With the government announcing a ban on one-time use plastic from January 1, many residents are switching over to cloth bags. R.A. Puram resident Radha Vasudevan is a forerunner in this too. It has been 20 years since she started stitching her own cloth bags to give away. “I love to give gifts to visitors. This year I am giving ‘potlis’ (surukku pai) that people can re-use. I am not using any disposables and instead investing in manpower to wash the katoris and tumblers,” she said.
Orders going up
“We have been getting orders for cloth bags from many people. There are families that have placed orders two months in advance. Cloth bags have become part of the kolu shopping list in many homes and establishments now,” explained Krishnan Subramanian of Yellow Bags, a Madurai-based organisation that works with SHGs, who stitch cloth bags.
Taking the anti-plastic mantra one step further, Viji Ganesh, a resident of Thoraipakkam, said she does not want to generate solid waste for visitors and does not give anything to friends. “People just come home, take turmeric and kumkum, drink natural drinks like ‘kheer’ or mint-spiced buttermilk and go back home. I stopped giving even betel nuts and leaves since not many people use them,” she said.
The Bengal Association, T. Nagar will celebrate its 85th year with a difference. This year’s Durga Puja celebrations, will have along with the festivities, food, dance, ‘dhak’ and ‘dhol’ from October 16 to 19.
Association members will also take a pledge to reduce the usage of disposable plastic materials, including straws, cups and plates, water bottles and encourage use of reusable bags instead of plastic bags.