92-year-old resident of Chennai recycles Plastic Waste Into Stylish Bags & Pouches
Posted By : Deepak Naik | Date : Feb 9 2022 8:43 AM
Janaki Viswam, a 92-year-old resident of Chennai, spends her time making various products like table mats, toaster covers and pouches from plastic bags and waste.
Janaki Viswam is a 92-year-old enthusiastic crafter based in Chennai. Her 72-year-old son, Ramakrishnan R V (Raja), describes her as an artistic person and adds that for as long back as he can remember she has always been nifty with her artwork.
Janaki makes beautiful products for daily usage with discarded plastic and waste. Table mats, luggage tags, toaster covers, carry bags and even small pouches to carry money and hold letters. She doesn’t do all this monetary gains but with the sole purpose of staying busy.
“I am fruitfully engaged and my mind does not wander to unnecessary things. It also helps keep my cognitive skills going. What more can I ask for at this age?” says Janaki.
“The patience that Amma [Janaki] has is just incredible. She is the glue that holds us together. At 92, when we ought to be looking after her, she continues to hold the mantle and is still in charge of running the house,” says Raja. Janaki is a fiercely independent woman and is also an inspiration to the younger generation in the family.
In 2019 when Tamil Nadu introduced a plastic ban in the state, Janaki started thinking of ways to upcycle and recycle the existing plastic covers at home. “That was when I started experimenting with various products. I started learning by watching videos on YouTube,” Janaki says. While she is not adept at using the phone and navigating YouTube, her daughter-in-law helps with finding the videos of interest.
The first few products that Janaki made were luggage tags and coasters.
She would wait for people to visit her so she could give them these gifts. “The entire charm for her lies in being able to gift all she makes. She has no monetary interest in making any of these products,” adds Raja. Janaki displays all her products and allows her guests to choose whatever they like the most. “That is what gives her immense happiness,” he says.
Find Ways To Stay Busy
Janaki’s mantra that has helped her stay mentally agile is to stay busy. It is also something that she often tells the younger generation to follow. “There are times when we have no plastic at home so we go scouting for it. Since plastic covers are now hard to come by as and when she finds it, she starts thinking of what she will make with it,” says Raja.