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Hobbies Musings Stories

A whole new world


(Continued from “We’ll draw a green thumb”)

I watched my father-in-law poke a few holes into the bag with the screwdriver. He left it in the corner, and turned around to find me in a happy daze.

Here I was fretting about the lack of an actual ground. ‘One can’t possibly compost without a hole in the ground,’ I thought to myself. And there he was, coolly collecting all the kitchen waste into a plastic bag to make a compost bag in our tiny apartment balcony.

After my in-laws returned to their home, we continued to add kitchen waste to this make-shift compost bag, excited about harvesting compost.

But something wasn’t quite right.

For starters, it smelt bad. Very, very bad.

And it was super soggy – dripping brown smelly liquid wherever we kept it.

And then there were the maggots. Lots of them.

I was sure that I wanted to compost waste, and was determined to do so. But was it to be as yucky as this? Neither of us had any idea. And so we shot the question out into the electrical void – the internet.

The internet informed us what was going wrong. The short answer: our compost was out of ‘balance’ and had too much moisture*.

To solve our immediate composting crisis, we added shredded newspaper, and left the bag slightly open, in the furthest corner of our balcony. Next step: we decided to get a proper composter.

Fast-forward a couple of months, and we welcomed our Kambha.

The Kambha is a terracotta composter made by a Bengaluru based NGO, Daily Dump. There really isn’t much to it: three earthen pots with holes on the sides. While the top two had a rope mesh at the bottom, the third one was closed at the bottom. They stacked up neatly. I marvelled at the simplicity of its design.

We watched the instructional video and transferred our (now utterly disgusting) waste and added some of the ‘remix’ material supplied by the organisation. The ‘remix’ material and the terracotta absorbed the excess moisture, and within a couple of days the compost stopped smelling.

As I learnt soon enough, the compost pile is as much a living organism as you and me. Needing a well balanced diet, breathing in oxygen, and exhaling carbon dioxide. And if it is malnourished or there is something wrong with its digestion, it emits a foul smell.

As for the maggots, they stopped bothering me. The composter was now a self enclosed eco-system. The compost pile was its earth. And a host of creatures grazed on its lands. With the plastic bag out of the way, the air around the compost became more breathable, and the fruit flies joined the maggots. Soon the land sprung shoots of large fungi, and even a sapling here and there. And the fungus gnats appeared. The maggots slowly reduced in number, as the competition for food grew. And then came the spiders – the top of the food chain, preying upon the insects.

All the while the kitchen waste continued to reduce. What was first green, yellow and purple slowly turned a rich, dark brown colour, and it smelt sweet – like Mother Nature.


* The long answer comes in a separate post!

Categories
Hobbies

Intricate


Intricate
Intricate – veins of the flowers

For more intricate photos, visit the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Intricate

Categories
Hobbies Musings

The Bouquet


She had been uprooted from her home, decorated to highlight her appealing petals, and given away to indifferent people. In her new ‘home’, she sat quietly in a corner, waiting to be noticed.

Her new family did not appreciate her. They had seen many more like her, and like all the others, she would be abandoned. The garbage collector would pick her up, and she would spend the rest of her short life along with plastics and other alien creatures.

She looked absolutely beautiful. And at the same time, she looked sad. We noticed her head looking towards the ground. She was tired, and disappointed. We decided to adopt her.

We peeled away the pins and wires that surrounded her, and even as I offered her water, some of her delicate petals gave way.

Free from the shackles, and getting a little care, she felt lighter. Was there a hint of a smile? She still missed her home. Nothing could replace that, but now, she hoped she could spend the rest of her days in peace.

Categories
Musings

A New Day


It’s been a rather noisy night. Huge flashes of lightning lit up the city in the middle of the night.

I step out to assess the damage. The verandah is littered with trash that the storm has decided to leave behind as a souvenir. I dodge the minefield to reach the railing and look outside.

Clear blue skies, and a cool breeze wish me a good morning. A pigeon flies towards the ground. Another one follows it. And soon many others enter the stage from all directions. Someone has just spread out a platter of seeds for them to feast upon.

I look at the trees, to see if there are any casualties. They are injured. They have been stripped off most of their leaves and there is a colourful carpet on the ground. But they stand proud and straight. They do not mind the shedding of leaves, after all, newer ones will grow. They have survived the night, and its time to savour their victory. The breeze is playing a gentle tune, and they are swaying to it.

Soon the city madness will resume, and last night’s events will be forgotten. But till then, I will stand here, in the middle of the mess, soak in the fresh air and watch nature celebrate spring.