My Camera And My Chai. Part The Second. Sustainable Thoughts

My Camera And My Chai
My Camera And My Chai

Sitting under that tree in Rishikesh was a bit ‘ Heaven, I must say. Cool breeze, before the hot summer winds come our way. The sound of the river bubbling gently by me, and some wonderful, sweet chai to greet my soul.

As I looked at my camera for the umpteenth time, I thought – for the umpteenth time – that it needs an upgrade. This is a Nikon D 200, and is a wonderful camera. When I had switched to digital, I had bought the Nikon D70, and in one year it became obsolete. Then, I bought the D200, and a year later Nikon launched the D300. “Damn”, I thought. I was tempted to buy it, but then I restrained myself. I figured that I would upgrade my camera when I was a wee bit more advanced along the way, insofar as my photography skills are concerned. I think I am ready.

My motivation for the restraint, was conservation. Conservation of my bank balance, and not conservation of the forests. I hang my head as I say this. I should have been able to proudly thump my chest, jump up on the podium, and shout ” I restrained myself because I wanted to reduce the amount of e-waste that we have in the world.”

When digital was introduced into the world, they said that this would limit the amount of harmful chemicals being pushed into the rivers, and that digital was greener.

What they did not say, was that digital products would be launched at a dizzying rate, and keeping up with the Joneses would be more important than sustainability.

I had an IPhone 4. They upgraded the IOS.My phone became slow. So, I bought an IPhone 4S. This phone kept collapsing, so I traded for a Samsung Galaxy S3. I lost the phone last year, when I was driving on the highway. I then bought a crappy Samsung Galaxy Grand. Really lousy phone. Finally, it broke and I bought (recently) an Experia.

A good phone, but as a consumer, I have not been following sustainable practices, and have increased the amount of e-waste in the world.

And so, when I was an active, responsible corporate citizen, I held – and attended – conferences on sustainability.

Now, sustainability has been defined as (copied from the web-site of the EPA): Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

This is good.

This is necessary.

However, the fact of life is that “sustainability” has been promoted by the Western world, after it has reached a certain level of development.

The Eastern World, dominated by India and China (population wise, at least), is starting to up the ladder. “We” want things. We want those nice, shiny cars, and new phones, and new cameras, and big homes, and pool parties. And, we want it NOW.

And, there are more of us than there are in the West!!

Of course, we know that most new products come from the West, and people have been known to line up for the latest gizmo. If the Americans can line up, then so can we! And, we can form longer lines!

There is a gap between sustainability talk, and sustainability practice.

The West is ahead of the East in much development. However, in the last corporation that I worked, I was often told that India is not yet ready for advanced technology, and that this would find a market in the West. Ergo, old (read, non-sustainable) technology would be sold in the East, and new (read – sustainable) technology would be sold in the East.


Yet, conferences on sustainability continue around the year. Lots of air miles! Lots of grand dinners, with expensive food that often goes waste.

So, why not a conference on sustainability, under the shade of a tree, with the cool breeze blowing, with the river gently bubbling, and a cup ‘o chai to boot?

This may be more sustainable I think, than what we have been doing so far…..

We should take the time to listen to the sound of the river as it flows gently by



  1. Beautifully put, Raj. You’ve obviously got a great deal of experience to back up your opinions and I not only applaud you for them, but find it uplifting that you’re sharing your collected wisdom. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s how we learn–from one another–mistakes and successes.
    I raise my glass of chai and toast you. 🙂

  2. Very well said. My computer is considered a dinosaur at seven years old, but still functions perfectly well. I will use it until it can’t be upgraded any more. I’m still using my dumb phone with an old person keyboard so I can text without having one key mean three different things, depending upon how many times you push it. I don’t need an iPad if I have a laptop. You’re right, when things get outdated so quickly, that generates a lot of obsolete stuff that either needs to be recycled or disposed of.
    Thank you for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

    1. Thanks! My IPad is over 3 years old, and I do not feel the need to upgrade. I use a desktop, largely for photo editing. We all love new toys, however!

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