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.