At a time when many state governments are trying to ban crackers to decrease pollution, how about Seed Pataakas that can be grown for flowers and vegetables By Ranjani Govind
What has seeds of chilli, marigold, tulsi, tomato, spinach or the flowering Daisy White got to do with Diwali? If you want to support Seed Paper India that is producing “sustainable crackers” for this season, you will connect with ‘festive pataaka’ that will see your ‘crackers’ crack in soil and grow into plants! “We are happy to introduce “Seed Pataakas” taking our eco-friendly products forward in our list. We have plantable crackers, and not burst-able crackers. This is our offer for a COVID 19 pandemic that will help people have a smokeless, noiseless environment while celebrating Diwali with plants and lamps instead of fire and pollution,” says Roshan Ray, Founder, Seed Paper India.
Speaking on how these silent and eco-friendly crackers look Roshan says they are almost similar to the usual variety of crackers available in the market, except that they are made out of recycled handmade paper with vegetable colours, completely bio-degradable. “We have come up with six ‘festive pataakas’ with seeds, instead of gunpowder, that match the make. Hydrogen bomb 1 with chilli seeds, Hydrogen bomb 2 with Tomato seeds, the milder Bhoomi Chakra with Tulsi seeds, Raja Rocket and Bijli bomb with Marigold, and Flower pots with flowering Daisy White! And instead of Sursurbathi, we have Cork Diyas (lamps), the waste wooden lumps fallen from Oak trees that are collected and machined into lamps. These lamps are so light that they float in water to make the festive look more special,” explains Roshan.
One can plant these pataakas in soil and with regular watering, they sprout as plants in four to six weeks time. Roshan has Hamper packs (costing Rs. 250) and individual crackers that people can choose and customize from. The Hamper Special, that comes with Diwali greeting cards, contains variety seed crackers, cocopeat, instruction card and an Oakwood Cork Diya. “We have orders for 500 boxes, as of now. But responses received from many corporate organizations are positive as they can share an eco- friendly product that addresses both Corona and pollution. It’s a feel-good factor of having contributed a small share towards environment,” says Roshan.
It’s been a long time dream for Roshan to come up with a product of this kind, as plantable crackers are also made at Seed Paper India factory in Bommasandra by women from nearby villages in Anekal and Chandapura. “When I was a young boy of seven, I burnt by hand with crackers, and once I decided on my profession and passion, I wanted to share ideas where people consider going green. Diwali and Corona is the right time for this offer,” says Roshan who still doesn’t expect too much of sales. “When I came up with Plantable Ganeshas for Ganesha Chaturthi, many wondered how they could immerse the idol in soil, instead of water. My company believes in embracing a culture of change to address environmental degradation. All of us need to give back to mother nature,” explains Roshan adding that “it will take time for people’s mindset to change.”
And to make Seed Paper India’s eco-products more visible, Roshan has gone one step further and formed an Eco-entrepreneur group with nearly three dozen “eco-warriors” from Udupi, Tumkur, Bidar and Bangalore to take across the message to people. “I have mentored a large group of Environmental Engineering students. They are spreading awareness to make a difference to people’s lives in a positive way,” says Roshan.
Much research has gone into Seed Paper India products where plant and seed researchers are in touch with Roshan for increasing the repertoire of offerings. In 2014, the company started with hand-made paper invitations and packing boxes made from waste cotton cloth, and later brought in seed-calendars. The company expanded to Seed-flags for Independence and Republic day celebrations, apart from Plantable Ganeshas.
Roshan Ray, born and brought up in Bengaluru, passed out of his engineering from the Dayanand Sagar College in 2005 and joined his family business of handmade paper industry. “At the mills we are totally sustainable, as we devised a method of going eco-friendly by not using tree cover for paper production. We have been approaching small industries and garment factories to give us waste fabrics that otherwise go to the landfill.”
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