Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Laundry Day

Probably we could cure most of the world’s angst and obesity if everyone had to do their laundry by hand. Even if you do a terrible job like I did, it is still hard work.

It was yesterday morning when I decided to take my first stab at laundry in India. I woke up at 3 a.m. after falling asleep in a strange nauseous deep-fried food buzz.  Or maybe it was a coma. Hard to say. My bed is so hard it’s like rolling around on a wooden foam roller all night. If I'm lucky, this will cure my i.t. bands. When I woke up, the fretting began. Deep-fried food frets. Femoral Acetabular Impingement Syndrome frets. Changing apartment frets. Backwards time zone frets.

After practice and two meltdowns on Facetime, I ventured out to get locate some coffee.  I have a little portable French press, but no coffee to make it with. Jois Coffee, where all the yogis buy their ground beans was closed. So I grabbed some coffee on the street. Here it seems that coffee is made with about one tablespoon of espresso and then a bunch of boiled milk and lots of sugar. The sugar to milk ratio is pretty high

“You have any with no sugar?” I asked.

“One moment.” They were about to boil some sugarless milk for me when I thought, the hell with it. It would make up for the low caffeine and tie me over until my landlady made chai for breakfast.

My house is easier to find now. On the corner of the street there is a home with a sign advertising “Positive Health Classes.” Although I have seen this same sign in a couple of places, this landmark does help.  Maybe you are interested in “Positive Health Classes.” They promise to “Add Life to Years.”

Positive Health Classes
Add Life to Years
When I got back to the apartment, Pushpa my landlady was standing at the balcony.

“I wait for you,” she said. “You lock-ed me.” Oops.  All the doors at Pushpa's house open and close with horizontal metal latches. The day before Pushpa had asked me to make sure that I latched the bathroom door when I was done. I guess I became overly diligent about doors and locked her in from the outside. Luckily, I had only been gone a few minutes.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said, shaking my head. There were about forty-five minutes before breakfast. Already I’d been awake for over five hours. It felt like years. The day ahead of me felt like years. With no positive health classes, how would I add Life to Years?

my mildewed yoga clothes and underwear
I hauled my mildewed yoga clothes and underwear to the corner of the balcony. Pushpa watched me as I dumped my clothes on the big square laundry stone. She frowned slightly as I bent forward awkwardly and ran water over a purple American Apparel t. shirt.

“It's making wet,” she said, pointing to my bright pink long flowy skirt. “In bucket.” So all the clothes went into the red bucket that I hadn’t noticed before. Water filled the bucket and then I pulled out the purple t. shirt again. wet t. shirt

wet t. shirt
“Hmm, hmm,” Pushpa mumbled as I tried to figure out where to put the soap.
All I had was Ivory Bar Soap. You have to rub some soap onto the stone and then rub the shirt over that. The scrubbing part is vigorous and rewarding and it makes lots of bubbles. I squatted the whole time which was wonderful for my pelvis and my bowel movements.   Definitely the process counteracts angst and obesity. First you rub soap onto your clothes. Some people who don’t want their clothes to smell like mildew leave their clothes to soak in a bucket of soapy water. This is probably an excellent idea. I, however, wanted to get it all over with and so I rinsed everything right away. Pushpa instructed me on how to lift the clothes up and down as I poured more water over it. I got a bit lazy and probably didn’t get all of the soap out. So if you see me at the shala and I’m a bit mildewed and covered with soap streaks, you’ll know why.

The End.

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  1. Living like s local! Don't leave home without toilet paper or hand sanitizer. I could make you laugh with some of my "akward"_primitive bathroom adventures in my third world travels!

    1. Yes, I am definitely not confident enough to do the bucket thing in public...

  2. Classic Pushpa action there. Everyone has locked her in. X

  3. Oh man! I did it again yesterday for three hours! She must think I'm a lost cause.

  4. I've walked back to the house so many times to check I haven't. It's a whole new thing.