A Pen and a Pad

Waste not. Want not.

It seems to be a done thing to attend interactive sessions, seminars and conferences. Having just been to one, Sanjay and I, came home armed with a jute bag each, stuffed with pamphlets and reports on the multifarious projects and activities of the host organization. The photographs embedded there-in seemed to be vying to create an impression of an ultra-modern campus, state of the art technology and a chic, multi-national ambience. The jute bags lay on my desk eating dust for a couple of days, till the weekend arrived and I was on my usual clearing up spree.

I asked my teen aged son to see if there was anything in there that he could find use for. He rummaged through it all and left everything strewn on my bed, except for an innocent looking notepad and a pen which he put on my bed side table saying, “You could use those, Ma!”

Staring at the kaleidoscope of colours created by the pamphlets tossed onto my bed. I ventured to pick one up. Imported laminated card paper; Professional photography; Quality printing; Designed to perfection, class et al! The pedigree of reading material distributed at high profile seminars and ‘talks’ more often than not, is of the calibre that has been prepared by the dint of intellect, creativity and fiscal power.

But what could I possibly use these for? Come to think of it, how many of those who receive it, have the time or for that matter, the inclination to go through it? Isn’t it in sync with the times to draw the line to a Power point presentation at the event itself? Isn’t it enough if the reports are uploaded onto the website? Perhaps one percent of those present would like to know more. The web should be enough or more than, for them. Perhaps someone needs to remind them of the age old adage, ‘Waste not; Want not!’

The jute bags ardently stamped with the hosts name, too found no takers in the house. Palming them off to the maid’s kids seemed to be the only plausible alternative. Come evening and I had a monthly visitor — the Raddiwala, at my door step. As he weighed out the newspapers and magazines, he too tossed aside the pompous pamphlets articulately printed on laminated card paper. “Won’t you take those?” asked I, incredulously. “Can’t make paper bags out of them,” he said wryly. I threw my hands up in despair as the designer material lay junked in the garbage bin.

My attention shifts to the innocuous writing pad and the pen, my son had placed on my bedside and I smile as I remember Mahatma Gandhi saving the pin from a letter whilst throwing the papers into the waste paper basket saying, “It was the only useful thing in the letter!”

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Originally published at priya.tandonindia.com.

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