Kerala is truly blessed to have some dynamic youngsters handling the collector position in various districts. Their vigour was evident when they were at the forefront of flood relief activities, visiting the collection centres and relief camps. Perhaps, collectors started getting an acceptability and widespread fan following when Prashant Nair helmed the position of Kozhikode District Collector. His activities and dealings with the public earned him the name ‘Collector Bro’. Maybe then, people started trying to know more about other collectors, and thus many names like T.V. Anupama, Vasuki, S. Suhas, Mir Muhammad Ali etc. came into the limelight.
Among this, Thiruvananthapuram Collector Dr K. Vasuki holds a special place. Vasuki left a successful medical career to pursue a career in administrative services, after she witnessed how the IAS officers were coordinating the rescue operations after the tsunami in 2004. She was sworn in as the 42nd collector of Thiruvananthapuram last year and was the one to propose the idea of implementing green protocol in the city. Perhaps, her experience of working with Kerala Suchitwa Mission helped her in leading many cleanliness campaigns in the city. She also launched C Power 5, which means Change Can Change Climate Change, an initiative to implement a lifestyle in people which doesn’t pose threat to the environment and society.
She was in news last year for her active participation in the relief activities during Kerala floods. She was very much involved in the collections centres, as the district administration was able to collect 54 truck-loads of materials in two days, which was disbursed to various parts of Kerala. Vasuki was back in news a couple of days back as she came to her office wearing a reused saree, one of the many, which were bought from Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) a couple of months ago. This can be treated as a continuation of her green protocol works as she intends to promote reuse of materials. She asserted that she doesn’t have any stigma in wearing a reused saree and for her, the environment is important. She even visited the employees of RRF wearing the saree brought from them, keeping the word she had given them. She also believes the saree, which was bought at an amount of `50, can be used for many years.
Many came in appreciation of her act; however, there were some who disapproved of wearing a used saree. Vasuki has been fondly called as ‘Collector Sis’ by the people.
‘Reuse is a good example’
I definitely support this. The ill-effect of fast fashion is that clothes are getting wasted when the trend changes. Most of the designers now are promoting the idea of reuse. It will be great if celebrities walk red carpets in the same attire. A reused dress does not mean it’s a bad product. The designers are repurposing the surplus fabrics these days. Even I restructure my old shirts and reuse them. Fabric production is not an eco-friendly affair and I believe this is a good example. People may have different opinions, but the idea will be accepted gradually.— Sreejith, Fashion Designer
‘Everyone can’t afford simplicity’
Simplicity is affordable for a certain section of people only. If I go to a place wearing a torn dress, people will see it as my poorness. They will be reluctant to see or accept it as my choice of dressing. This is a decision of priority between simplicity and choice. Priorities are different for individuals. I don’t object the concept of reuse, but I’m not in for it. I love to dress up in new attires and carry myself well. — Rekha Raj, Social Activist
‘Excited to wear new dress’
The initiative is definitely good. My grandmother used to work in a place where elderly people were living. The fact is that they used a dress only twice or thrice and used to give it to my grandmother after that. The dresses were of brands like Fabindia, Biba, and W etc. Three years ago, I couldn’t have thought of using these brands. The clothes they had abandoned were in really good condition and there was no problem in reusing them. Only recently, I started taking new clothes for myself and felt the smell, feel and colour of that. The excitement still prevails! Let it continue. I will think of reused dresses when this excitement gets cut short.
— Arathi Renjith, Journalist
‘The news took me to school days’
I was afraid of the days when we had to wear colour dresses to school. The news of recycling clothes took me to those days. I came across many posts regarding this and then only realised that many had the same anguish like me. I’ve felt many times that I grew up with the desire of wearing new dresses. However, I’m not against the concept of recycling.
— Sreebala K. Menon, Director