About a month back, I visited the nearby mall and wandered into a big retail chain named Pantaloons.
After the usual browsing , I bought a simple top and stood in the queue for making the payment. Just in front of me in the queue stood a lady with her daughter. The little girl was about 12 years old , had nicely trimmed hair ,wore a simple pink dress , and was very cute. But what happened subsequently took me beyond her looks and I was simply at awe of her .....
She stood there with her mother, observing the people, tapping her foot impatiently. Suddenly she asked
"Ma, I saw a poster displayed near the entrance about saving trees and asking people not to use plastic, but I see that everybody is carrying their articles in big green plastic bags ! "
"Well, you see, to discourage people using plastic, the shop is charging Rs 7 for each plastic bag" Her mother explained.
I saw a look of puzzlement in the little girl's eyes .
"But Ma, charging money is not fair.... people do not come to malls with bags to carry their things ! And again, if they are charging money, they should give Paper Bags ... "
Her mother did not have an answer. I was curious to know what the girl will ask next ...
Well, she did not answer. As her mother went ahead in the queue, the little girl asked for a paper and a pen from her mother and started writing an application. She wrote that she did not approve of the plastic bags being given as this raises environmental pollution and that Pantaloons should stop this immediately and replace them with paper bags. Then she went around the shop with her application and talked to several people and got their signatures in the application. I too signed on it. Both her mother and I made our payments and I saw the mother sitting on a chair patiently as she saw her daughter mobilize the crowd.It seemed that her mother must have been used to these incidents !
Out of curiosity , I too joined the little girl in her small little campaign. After getting quite a lot of signatures , she looked at me and said, "Will you come with me to the manager's cabin ?" I nodded my head, full of admiration for the little girl. Once we went inside the manager's cabin, she waited patiently till she got is attention after he finished chatting with someone on his cell.
"Yes ! Tell me" He said disinterestedly. The little girl gave the application to him and explained ! I listened.
"Is this a joke ? " He said looking at me. " Don't you know all the shops are doing the same thing !"
It was my turn now. I told him pointing at the little girl
" If a small girl can understand this , you know that this is not a joke ! We do not care who is doing what ! We feel that you are increasing environmental pollution by encouraging plastic and at the same time making money at the cost of the environment and govt. policies. Please take care of this and accept this application. I have friends in the press and I will write an open letter to Biyani - the owner of the Pantaloons chain - about this. It is our duty as a citizen to protest if we see something is wrong and we have every right to protest. "
The manager looked at me and the little girl. He accepted the letter .
We came out of his room triumphantly. The little girl ran to her mother and excitedly relayed the happening inside the manager's room. I smiled and walked towards them and congratulated the mother about having such a daughter. She was a proud mom.
The little girl was a leader ! She will be an asset wherever she goes...
Today, I went to Pantaloons again.
I saw paper bags being given instead of plastic ones !