Tuesday, 16 September 2014

hand-me-down; pull-me-up

There is all the nostalgia and emotion associated with wearing or using baby things that have been in the family or with friends for generations. Beyond that, there is the (admittedly virtuous) feeling of satisfaction that I get in not adding to the mindless consumerism/ eco-waste already present in our world. 

The fact that it is economical does help. 

I was a little appalled when I saw the prices (and utter uselessness) of most baby stuff. The five star baby-buggy that PP and I saw when we were shopping for a pram, cost more than I sold my car for and it should have been able to sing lullabies and change diapers at the price. I think parents, particularly first-time parents, get totally suckered by the avalanche of not-so-subtle, guilt-provoking advertising specifically targeted at them.  

Then there are the designer clothes. I felt positively ill when I realised that someone I knew had spent close to ₹100,000 on a garment for her four-month-old who would wear it for all of one grand season. Sure, it's great to indulge your kids and I respect that, even if I don't always agree with the form it takes. But one lakh for a few months? For a babe who actually can't be bothered about what s/he is wearing as long it's comfortable and warm/cool according to the weather?

So I was very happy to take on and pass on stuff. Between two friends whose kids had outgrown their things, I got car seats, blankets, a much-loved bunny and other toys, bathing chair, rocker, high chair, baby carrying ring-sling and wrap, nasal aspirators... My best buddy gave me the cot that both her kids slept in and a pregnancy book that I was the third mom to use...Another two friends gave me a bunch of very useful books.

In turn, I have passed on cloth diapers, feeding pillow, baby sling and wrap, books, mobiles, nappies, clothes, toys, to three other young mums. Old saris found a new lease of life as nappies and clothes for K; Carefully preserved baby clothes were pulled out - mine and  PP's  - for the obligatory airing and wearing.

Do we really need to buy so much new stuff? Yes, there are some things that you want to buy new. But there are an equal, if not more, number of things that can be happily passed around. It's not as though a baby has time to wear them out! 

I already have my eye on these lovely, traditional gararas that my honorary niece has outgrown  and am waiting for K to grow into. 

When things are shared around, they create a sense of belonging and closeness. Especially since everything has it's own history. Such and such cot was made like this and we painted it in this colour, originally... Or such and such sari was bought for the princely sum of 200 rupees by so-and-so and "you just don't get work like that anymore". 

I remember totally lusting for my older sister's clothes and later, for my mother's saris and a lovely, ancient jacket that was older than me and belonged to Dad, which I wore for the longest time. 

So go on, spread the love a little. Beyond your immediate family is great - you end up extending your family through sharing, caring and building memories together. 

On that smugly virtuous note, adios.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your post and I so agree with all that you have written. I am a complete re-use person... My little one smiles just as much in all the clothes, wraps and other stuff that my nieces once oogled in. I have already started handing over stuff she's outgrowing to my sis in law who's soon expecting... Wish every new parent follows this... Will put an end to impulsive and sometimes mindless consumerism.


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