Coffee With Raunak

It’s Raunak’s birthday this week. So I thought it would make sense to write about a memory with him!

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

One sunny afternoon, about 4 months after I had made my zero-waste pact, some friends and I were hanging out. Two of us decided to go out and grab a bite to eat.

While I waited for my ‘Tawa Fried Chicken Roll’, my friend, Raunak decided to get some cold coffee at the local juice joint.

Initially, I didn’t want any because I hadn’t brought my travel mug. The store usually didn’t have any (clean) glass cups, and instead only plastic take-aways. Either way, I requested for a non-disposable/reusable cup and they happened to have just one tupperware glass at the place, they very kindly agreed to give me my coffee in it. (without a straw too!)

Raunak and I started a conversation and he asked me about the whole zero-waste thing and how it was going. How I started and what the journey’s been like. He asked me if I had experienced any failures.

At that moment, the other vendor called me to mention that my order was ready and I pointed out to Raunak my butter paper wrapped chicken roll, and explained that there had been so many instances when the store owners just didn’t understand my request.

He laughed awkwardly.

Soon my coffee was ready too! I struggled to sip the thick coffee complete with a huge scoop of ice-cream on top. I had no straw, spoon or stirrer, and I was holding the chicken roll in my left hand along with my blue water bottle that didn’t fit in my tiny bag. I spilled the brown liquid all over my white crop top.

It was a disaster. To my regret, I had to use a tissue. Raunak was really kind and helped me hold my things.  

We continued our discussion. I told him about how my whole family was making efforts towards the goal. He seemed shocked and asked about how they were doing that. I described mom’s finesse in the kitchen and her warm home-made peanut butter, bread and other store-bought alternatives. I went on to tell him about how we didn’t get packaged stuff anymore, or at least tried to avoid it as much as we could. 

He was interested. So, I continued to ramble about how I’ve been feeling so much better about a lot of decisions since attempting zero-waste, how I don’t feel so bad about unnecessary consumption every day, how avoiding plastic is so much better for the environment, how landfills and incineration are terrible.. and suddenly Raunak expression changed. He gazed at me with what seemed like his moment of epiphany. 

He stopped my sentence mid way and exclaimed, “OH MY GOODNESS, JERUSHA! This whole time, when you said zero-waste, you meant garbage????”

I was puzzled.

“Of course I meant garbage. What else could I mean?”

He smiled with embarrassment.

He motioned toward his lower abdomen. “This whole time I thought you meant zero-waist!”

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