Composting - Part 1

Outline of the Conversation:

Pramod is a youngster living in Karunagappalli who is not conscious of the environment. He does not see the logic in composting, and always breaks his parents' rule of discarding food waste into the household compost pile, instead of the waste bin. He is lazy and complains that transporting food refuse to the outside pile is ridiculous since a waste bin sits in the kitchen. After getting away with this for a few months, Pramod's older sister, Sita, who always encourages him to do the right thing, finally becomes fed up with his carefreeattitude toward composting. Sita decides to play a trick on him that will enable their mother to catch him in the act of breaking the rules.

The Conversation:

Sita: You are doing it again Pramod. How many times do I have to tell you to stop putting food waste in the waste bin? You know it goes in the compost pile to decompose into fertiliser for the garden. You like the fruits and vegetables that come from the garden right?

Pramod: Yes, but I am not hurting anything. So what if I throw a few banana peels in the trash. I am the youngest and smallest in the family, and eat less than you, mama, and papa. The compost will still be big enough for the garden without my little waste.

Sita: That is a bad mind-set to have Pramod. Your little bit helps too. You should have a better attitude about this. Why is it so hard for you to walk behind the house and dispose your food rubbish in the correct place?

Pramod: I'll tell you why. There are mosquitoes that bite me when I go out there. They love my young blood. They don't bother you as much because you are old. Mama wants us to do so much work. Composting takes too much time. We have to carry the waste all the way to the pile, and search for dead plants to mix into it with water. Then we have to turn the pile over and over and over until it is totally mixed. If I'm always doing this, when will I have time for homework and time to practice being a good lad?

Sita: Don't be ludicrous. We don't have to follow that process every time. You know that. I know that you have been throwing food in the kitchen garbage for a while now. 

Pramod: How do you know this?

Sita: Do you think I am blind and stupid Pramod? I am your older sister and know you a lot better than you think I do. I know you make sure you are always the person to burn garbage so that you can cover up your ploy. I am sure of that.

Pramod: So you think you are cleverer than me my dear sister? Do not forget that I am the master of tricks. Don't worry about me; just focus on yourself. How am I bothering you? Besides, what can old food and dead leaves do for the garden? It needs sunlight and water, and peace and quiet.

Sita: That's it Pramod, your irresponsibleness has gone too far. I will have to teach you a lesson. Be careful, this time the trick could be on you.

Pramod: I welcome the challenge my dear sister. This will be fun!

(A couple of days later, Sita devises a set-up. After informing her mother of Pramod's trickery, the mother wishes to witness her son's deception. Sita suggests that her mother pretend to go to the supermarket after a Sunday breakfast, but actually watch Pramod's actions from a covert place. While cleaning the kitchen and washing dishes, Pramod throws the food waste into the waste bin as he usually does. His mother secretly observes this, and then confronts him.)

Mother: Foolish boy, so your sister was right! You think you are smart do you?

Pramod: Ouch! I'm sorry mama, please forgive me. I won't do it again.

Mother: Are you just saying that because you want me to stop pinching your ear? Are you telling the truth? I should tell your father. When he returns from Kollam next week, I think I will.

Pramod: No, please don't Mama! Papa will use a bamboo stick on my bottom. Please don't Mama! I will change.

Mother: Well I should, especially after hearing about what you've been doing. And you are proud of it too! You are a sneaky little boy.

Vocabulary:

Carefree - Having no worries or troubles.

Decompose - To cause something (such as dead plants) to be slowly destroyed and broken down by natural processes.

Fertiliser - A substance (such as manure, compost, or a special chemical) that is added to soil to help the growth of plants.

Ludicrous - Something very foolish and absurd that causes laughter or amusement.

Ploy - A clever trick or plan that is used to get someone to do something or to gain an advantage over someone.

Irresponsibleness - Not having or showing maturity or good judgment: not responsible.

Deception - The act of making someone believe something that is not true: the act of deceiving someone.

Covert - Secret or hidden. 

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