Our Story of Squares

What is a foot square of knitted wool worth? Maybe not much you may think.

But we thought otherwise, such squares when stitched together became blankets. And these blankets aren’t the result of one person making all the squares. We had innumerable volunteers from different parts of the country, from children to senior citizens who contributed towards this drive. From a family, who’s three generations got together to senior citizens, all found this activity to be the most enjoyable and exciting; all for a purpose.

A volunteer, Surbhi Sinha, a senior citizen from Delhi, wrote to us saying, “An Inch of Warmth is a great idea and I salute this initiative. We may not be able to make a big blanket but to contribute according to your own ability feels lovely. I recognised my squares on the completed blanket and I plan to do more – as there are no deadlines, it’s a long winter and many more people in need.” She continues to knit squares even now. There are many such heart warming testimonials from volunteers who also found knitting to be therapeutic.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

Through our initiative we were able to create six blankets which were eventually donated to a marginalised group of people being taken care by St Stephans Hospital Community program at Sunder Nagri, Delhi. We are definitely motivated to aim for many more in the near future.

We agree that a foot square of knitted wool, may not have much value on its own, but now the value that’s created out of such squares is; Priceless. With the request of all volunteers involved in this we are now continuing this drive, making it an ongoing collaborative drive because all the smiles are totally worth it.

NCR – Where death comes easy

NCR – Where death comes easy

If you are wondering how is dying easy by simply living in the National Capital Region? Well, all you need to do is breathe. The only time we are concerned about the kind of air we breathe is during Diwali because we can simply put the blame on firecrackers. And then? We get lost in the humdrum of our daily life with each passing winter season.

It’s all quiet. And whether you like it or not we are all dying a slow death every single day and some faster than the others.

As per the recent report by Lancet, air pollution killed nearly 1.7m people in India in 2019 which has been rising significantly year by year as per the research. And specifically, India’s capital, Delhi, tops the charts in one domain (if not anything else) of being the most polluted city in the world during its winter. For residents of this city and adjoining areas, experiencing a thick smog with toxic air particles is not a surprise anymore, when we can see and smell the smoke we breathe. This toxicity rises as much as 500% higher than the level the World Health Organization deems healthy. Therefore we are extremely far from breathing healthy air, rather everyday we breathe in air that is hazardous and lethal for us.

According to Dr Arvind Kumar, a chest surgeon at Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital and chairperson of the NGO the Lung Care Foundation, “Air pollution affects anyone and everyone who breathes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a sweeper on the street, both breathe about 25 000 times a day. However, the economic difference allows one to control the quality of air that goes into one’s lungs. An economically deprived person living in a shack or by the roadside has no access to any technology device which can in any way influence the quality of air.” And also, according to him, on an average day, when pollution is relatively lesser, people living in NCR inhale smoke equivalent to seven cigarettes a day and this increases with the level of pollution. So whether you smoke or not, you are smoking anyway including children and newly borns. Let’s not even discuss smoking hazards because we are all quite aware of those, but so far we only linked it to tobacco.

This year has been different, like an icing on the cake, pollution in Delhi was also connected to a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths as the winter months set in, with the Indian Medical Association stating in November that 13% of the city’s recent Covid-19 cases may be linked to air pollution.

This week’s Lancet report also sets out the economic cost of the contaminated air, saying pollution fatalities in 2019 led to a total loss of $36.8bn, or 1.36% of India’s gross domestic product, with the poor and populous states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar hit worst.

“The high burden of death and disease due to air pollution and its associated substantial adverse economic impact from loss of output could impede India’s aspiration to be a $5tn economy by 2024,” the report says.

If this doesn’t wake us up and ignite the desire to do our bit towards the environment what will?

If you’re already on that path, do share your story with us.

An Inch of Warmth

2020 has been a turning point for humanity. The year that experienced an unprecedented pandemic no one was prepared for. Undoubtedly, it has taken a toll on many lives in various forms, in the extremity of which many lost their lives.

In a situation where so many people are feeling helpless and hopeless, is there anything that we can do in our capacity, we wondered. And then came the idea of #aninchofwarmth. An all inclusive drive which includes people of all ages and the specially abled group of people that we have been associated with since a few years.

A simple idea, where all you need to do is knit wool or crochet, into a 12″ by 12″ inch square of any color and drop it at our collection points located in Delhi and Gurgaon. For people who are not from these cities, we encouraged them to courier it to us.

These squares, after being stitched into a blanket by the specially abled group of people at Avacayam will then be distributed to the underprivileged.

It’s a drive to encourage all the talented people who love to knit, to come together and spread some cheer in a not so cheerful environment. Some warmth to people who don’t have anything to keep them warm. Some excitement to the ones who will stitch these colorful pieces together. And an opportunity to contribute to the society and the environment which we sometimes feel is far reaching.

An idea which has already had its initial ripple effects of reaching 7 cities in India and we are very close to completing our first blanket too.

Bottomline is, let’s change the equation from being receivers to being givers. The times are tough for everyone but there is always something one can give back or share.

Share your inch of warmth.

Whose Grass is Greener

grass is greener book

Love thy neighbor versus envy thy neighbor, we would prefer to go with the former. It’s probably more peaceful that way, no matter how green the neighbor’s grass may seem. And the best way to convince yourself to love thy neighbor is to keep repeating, ‘The grass is greener this side of the fence’. Even better is to buy a notebook with this slogan on it.

We did what we do best, we made eco-friendly notebooks with this slogan. It’s made of handmade paper recycled from cotton rags. Available at The White Light.

Upcycled Gift bags. Anyone?

REd block print bag

Although the global awareness on environmental issues has increased tremendously, only a minute percentage of people have consciously changed their consumption patterns. Not that they don’t want to, but probably these products don’t add up to their coolness factor or their standards per se.

Nevertheless, we just don’t give up. We at The White Light, continue to find solutions to cater to the ‘likes’ of people, with bombastic designs, convince them to make the ultimate switch to conscious buying.

Our upcycled handcrafted gift bag is another one of our creations. Newspapers block printed and converted into super chic carry bags. Would you buy it or suggest it to anyone who cares enough?

Our Upcycled Pen Stands

pen stand upcycled

What do we do with used toilet paper rolls and all the discarded cloth that we keep collecting? Well, we get creative. We design, innovate and use every bit of material we have, doesn’t matter the combinations. Particularly when the goal is to reduce the waste dumped to the landfills, ideas do emerge.

A simple, yet very useful and durable product that we tried and tested and yes, also sold in large quantities are these awesome pen stands, made from discarded fabric and used toilet paper rolls. They turned out to be absolutely gorgeous, radiating brightness, making any dull space vibrant and happy and why not? They’re made with assorted fabric and colors! And life is all about the variety of spice you add to it, or shall we say colors? 🙂

To  know more click here.

Look what the Philippines invented!

salt water lamps

Some areas of underdeveloped and developing countries still do not have access to electricity. Lighting up homes is not only cumbersome but also hazardous to health. People have to travel long distances to collect dry sticks and buy kerosene to burn lamps.

As a solution to this painful problem which the poor face, Mejino, an engineer, innovated this absolutely brilliant lamp which can run for 8 hours, with salt and water! Yes, all you need is one glass of water and two tablespoons of salt. And if you happen to live by the ocean, voila! you just use the ocean water!

We do hope this impressive innovation in alternate energy brings respite to people for whom access to electricity is luxury.

Ref: SALt

Living things and E-things

electronic_waste_dumped_developing_worldElectronic-waste

Life without gadgets is unthinkable, so much so that mobile phones feel like a part of one’s body. One goes in frenzy if the gadget is misplaced, as if some body part was amputated. But this is just a myopic view of living things and their psychological disorders.

The insecurity and desperation to catch up with the technological race has resulted in accumulation of tons of e-waste, 40 million tons(UNEP) to be specific! Majority of illegal e-waste ends up in landfills, incinerators, and in ill-equipped recycling facilities in developing countries. “The waste is dumped in areas where local residents and workers disassemble the units and collect whatever is of value… What is not reusable is simply dumped as waste, creating immense problems and leading to what has been described as a ‘toxic time bomb’.”

If this didn’t scare you enough, “Failure to recycle e-waste is also leading to shortages of rare earth minerals to make future generations of electronic equipment,” Central Pollution Control Board of India.

Yes the desire or greed maybe, of living things for the e-things, is not only eating up precious natural resources but further creating havoc to the existing natural environment.

Be conscious in buying and more importantly in disposing off your E-things. Respect the circle of life.

The White Light Travel Diary Series…

upcycled glass

In one of our previous posts we shared a version of upcyled shipping containers we found in Chennai, India. This post is about a conscious lifestyle change, not in anyone’s home, but in a hip restaurant in New Delhi.

The cutlery holder with upcylced bottle caps got full marks from us! We hope that more restaurants and outlets can adopt such a simple yet very cool change to save this city from being one of the worst in being environment friendly.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Eco-friendly pen

With electronic gadgets accessible at the palm of your hand, you don’t feel the need to use a pen that often as you did a decade ago. Earlier we used to buy pens in bulk to avoid frequent trips to the stationary store. But now, we buy a pen only when needed and it takes probably months before we buy a new one. This often leads to opting for an expensive pen, a designer branded pen probably, which is used more as an accessory in the shirt pocket, or complimenting a designer bag.

A pen is a pen, and a pen is mightier than a sword. The pen that we make at The White Light, is the mightiest though, because we make them eco-friendly. Such is the power of the pen.

For more details click here.