Dressed up windows!

Dressed up windows!

This sun-dappled stained glass window in the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Frazer Town is a stunning soul-cleaner to visit on any dark or bright day! by Daksha Hathi

This friendly Cathedral has windows that talk to you with their gorgeous stories and angels to please you on a bullied and cheated day, and three marvelous ancient spiral staircases still in excellent condition!

The best window in the Cathedral through which the sunlight tumbles in on warm days, is painted with the icon known as ''Our Mother of Perpetual Help/Succour, which is the Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus in her arms. The sun's rays pouring their gold over this solemn picture makes for a very interesting window.

Winning windows, like London's ivy covered windows and many garlanded by fat and calm cats watching the world go by, make us think about the more important things of living. This window made me think of the book I was then reading - Making Kind Choices by Ingrid Newkirk. It had a chapter on creating and furnishing a Humane Home. A very good idea she gives us is to use a lot of shrubs around our home, like the window in a school in Frazer Town where a very intelligent and plant loving gardener has made it so beautiful and healthy.

We can cover any bare walls, stairwells, ugly spaces, ledges and fences with climbing vines, all of them available in Lal Bagh . We can leave a small pile of twigs, fallen leaves and stones for birds to use. We must not have any chemical sprays in our homes or gardens.

Did you know that some air fresheners may not be good for the animals in your home? It is better to use plants to keep air fresh - grow the money plant, spider plants, ivies, philodendrons and the always lovely caladium which also grows in just water, like the money plant.

It is a smart move to leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing it. This free and safe fertilizer breaks down to give you one-half the nitrogen and potassium your lawn needs to get greener.

You can even grind up the fallen leaves from trees to thicken the soil. Remember that grass clippings, left to decompose on your lawn can contribute 1.8 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. feet and it is free! Grass clippings being 85 per cent water, will decompose in a week or even less! Grass clippings also help to reduce water evaporation from the lawn. They cool down the soil temperature.

We can use various shrubs like this one, to create a window as gorgeous as this one, in a school in Bangalore by Daksha HathiWe can all avoid commercial home cleaners, or reduce their use, especially for our animals. You can remove skunk odour from your dog by rubbing vinegar into his coat!
Vinegar will also polish car chrome, and help your cut flowers to stay fresh longer. Remember that laundry soap is much more benign than detergent. Stop buying special toilet cleaners, says the very useful book called 2 Minutes a Day for a Greener Planet by Marjorie Lamb a reporter on environmental affairs. Just sprinkle a little baking soda on your toilet brush, swish it around the bowl, and that will do the work for you, safely and cheaply.

Safe oven cleaner: while the oven is still warm, pour some salt on grimy areas. If they are dry, dampen them with water before salting them.

Let the oven cool down, scrape the grime off and wash it clean. You can also spray grimy oven areas with vinegar-water and apply a layer of baking soda. Rub this gently with a fine steel wool and wipe it off. Then rinse with water and wipe.

The window alongside is covered with  a lovely creeper which is available in all nurseries in Bangalore. It turns a plain window into a green dress with red flowers! It reminds us that “there”s music in the waking woods, there’s glory in the air.” John Clare

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