ChaiLines: Brewing Poetry of Plastic on #PlasticFreeJuly with Pinky Chandran

Plastics, a part of our everyday living that makes life easier and convenient, has come to haunt us in more subtle ways than one.  From the Great Pacific Patch, to the disturbing images of plastic filled bellies of the animals, to the heartbreaking pictures of birds feeding plastic to their young ones or the high tide debris of plastic washing up on our shores.We depended on them, now we are drowning in them, screamed a headline. 

From my first shock of seeing a bed of plastic bags to the time I started to realise the number of things we use and throw, I have been at a loss to express… My quest to understand more has taken me through the informal recycling markets/ spaces, scrap shops across Bengaluru, Mysuru, Udupi, Delhi, Gurgaon, Goa, Mumbai, Shillong, Indore, Patna, Guwahati, Kolkatta, Cochin, Ooty, Baroda, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Chennai, Port Blair, Manipur, Hyderabad Pune, Patna and has left me overwhelmed.

My thoughts have gone astray.  To make sense, I believed it is easier to frame plastics in poems and photographs, apart from making the switch to say no to single-use disposables and advocate recycling.  I believe that poems are, in a way, cathartic. Poems help us normalize our daily experiences and relationships, look at challenges plastics poses and look at the possible impact it has. We can distance and disassociate, it may or may not help change, but it can put in perspective, question and express every time we look at plastics packaging.

For, our consumption = garbage and as someone said our trash is not too far away or unimaginable. It is present, living, breathing, entangled, intertwined and connected.

All this July on Chai Lines, we are brewing poetry of plastics. Stay tuned! If you want to contribute to this, please write to us at

Pinky Chandran

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