Iron Woman

Rushing to have my bath this morning I realized the salwar I wanted to wear to work was crumpled and the dupatta beyond redemption. Torn between having to iron the dress and deciding on the ever convenient jean I stopped for a moment to understand what I wanted to do.

A moment later, I dragged the ironing board up, plugged in the heat iron and went to work. Knowing I had to be at work in less than an hour, I wanted to rush through the process and be done with it. Some thing inside me however, slowed me down. I took the time to iron out the edges and like I used to do it eons ago folded it and ironed again.

Shower done I felt a tiny thrill course through me when I looked at the neatly stacked salwar, kameez and duppata. Slipping it on, I lingered a moment longer in front of the mirror before I rushed to the door.

Sitting back in my cube my hands fingering the material of the dupatta, I thought back to the times growing up I would haul a huge pile of clothes that came back from washing to the ironwala at the door. Counting them meticulously I would watch the little boy drop them on a clean white dhothi and tie them up into a huge bundle he would then sling over the shoulder before he stopped at the next house. Sometimes leaning over the fence at home, I would check when they would be done. And stand some more watching the man shovel hot coal into the huge iron which he would then draw over the damp crumpled clothes. It would seem like magic the way the creases straightened out. It would seem effortless till of course I tried to duplicate it myself at home with my pathetic excuse of an iron.

I remember pleading with amma to let me get one that you could fill water in and then spray as you ironed. I think I did get one too. No idea what happened to it later though.

I sometimes wonder where that part of me disappeared to. The one that ironed neatly, folded clothes and stacked them in order. The one that took pride in maintaining personal effects with care. Some where in the past decade, I seem to have lost those qualities. My clothes lie on a ‘pai’ waiting to be folded. A hundred and one tasks are on my mental to-do to be done but never actually getting done. Today, I think I reached out and touched a small part of the missing me.

9 comments

  1. Ayyo… folding clothes is THE most boring homework I have. You feel like you are wearing the same clothese all the time, yet at the end of the week, there is so much to be washed and so much more to be folded somehow. I need someone who would do just this one thing for me. It’s the biggest pain of my life!

  2. Weird thing is I loved washing clothes (the smell of newly washed clothes is one of my favorite;) )and pressing them…but those that you don’t press – folding them was one chore I hated!!!!! There were times when the clothes would just lie in a huge pile on the guest bed. Only to be cleared if I expected someone! Here, things are different. My dad does the folding, of course I have the ironwala come to get the clothes pressed.

  3. Laksh-

    One of the most missed persons when I came to US was my iron man. He used to have his isthri vandi in our house compound, so I could get my clothes ironed whenever I wanted to. Most of the time nowadays, I try to fold the clothes while they are still warm out of the dryer, makes life easier. As for as ironing goes, I’vve learnt that the sooner you get it done with, the lesser the pile becomes.

  4. LOL, just today I was mentioning to AD that I love fridays but thinking of washing and folding clothes makes me think that week days are nice. I really miss the iron man, I remember what a fuss I would make if he did not iron my clothes properly and now since I have to do the job I am okay with whatever the outcome is. As usual very nice post.

  5. I used to be the one folding the clothes – I was well known in my family;) for that …

    now, everything takes a backseat in the busy work week – and the greatest joy in the morning is finding a set that works:) and taken by the day…

  6. i am jealous!! you get to wear salwaar-kameez to ur place of work..here i have tons of kurtis and salwaar kameez..all waiting for their turn :(…and house-work..don’t get me stated…i have a huge ‘pai’ of clean clothes on the guestroom bed…and i just pick up what i want from there 😀

  7. Oh really Laksh!It was amazing to know people alike Laksh, through your blog…You know what?, When I was at my mom’s home or in my spinsterhood, I dint have had the habit of folding clothes, I’ll give’em to the iron man and stack it in the cupboard once it is done. Now, the ironing part is done by ‘G’, but my clothes are yet to find some hands to get to fold them… As Rajitha sd, it’d be in the guestroom bed, I’d pick up what I want from there only. You are true, there are certain qualities getting evaded slowly in me. Like foldng clothes, cupboard cleaning, stacking the book rack etc., etc.,

  8. well….there goes a blog filled with nostalgia!! jeez…the world of grown-ups!! one reason why i dont want to grow up and leave everything behind….but i guess nobody is given that kinda luxury…

  9. @Rekha: LOL! I feel exactly the same way!
    @Apar: Good for you 🙂 I had never really given washing/folding much thought till last week. Mostly I don’t hate it. I used to love folding and ironing. Gave me a sense of control even if my life was out of my control. 🙂
    @Mitr: Thanks for the tip. Will try to fold while warm this week 🙂
    @Mads: Thank you! I try and get the laundry done during week days so weekends are not spent on them 🙂
    @JS: haha! With you on that. Each morn I rush through my clothes to find something, anything that I can wear without looking like I rolled out of bed.
    @Rajitha: 😀 One of the reasons why I love my job I guess. The casual dress part. The pai in the guest bedroom looks like a staple in many of our homes.
    @Deepa: 🙂 Lucky you for finding G
    @Shalu: Abs! The grown up world is beckoning you young woman. 🙂

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