Radhika's Diaries

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Alva J Fisher, Jacob Christian Schaffer, Nathaniel Briggs.

Do you know them? Well I do. Not personally. I mean, we’re not exactly on hello/hi terms or such like. We couldn’t possibly be, them belonging to some centuries ago and already having passed on to the life after and all that.

When I say I know them, I just mean that I came across their names on Wikipedia, when I dropped by to check out who invented the washing machine. These names popped up among others. While I bit my tongue trying to pronounce some of them, I shall be forever grateful to these guys.

Because in my humble and personal opinion, the washing machine has to be the best invention ever! There are other things that will come a close close second, of course. In fact several things will jostle for space on my ‘best inventions ever’ platform, but for now the washing machine takes home the prize.

Why? Because I dislike the whole process of manually washing clothes, that’s why! Soaking them, brushing sweat and stains off them, wringing them, putting them out to dry – the works.

I say this not from a spectator’s ring-side point of view, but as an actual hands-on washer of clothes. You see, the WM made a late entry into my life. Before it’s advent I have bent my poor back over many a bucket load of clothes. And my hands – my poor soft gentle hands meant for artistic work like writing – have wrung out enough wet dripping clothes.

Before my mother jumps up from her recliner yelling Liar, Liar, I hasten to add that she was the washer woman of the house till we grew up summat! And of course the occasional maids who would drop in to see how we were, collect their wages and disappear.

Me and my siblings learnt to wash our own clothes early on. I learnt by watching. From the Pros – the visiting maids of course. Each had her own tried and tested technique.

One would fill up a bucket with water, pour in half a carton of detergent, work up a lather like a well made cappuccino, with lots of white creamy foam and immerse the soiled clothes in it. After a decent 10 minutes, she would fill up another bucket with clean water, transfer the soapy clothes into this. She would then fill up the 1st bucket with more water and transfer all the clothes back into it. You get the picture? Back and forth she would go having fun with 2 buckets and some water.

Another maid had given the mother standing instructions to soak the clothes half an hour before her arrival. Sometimes we forgot and then the scene that would unfold would resemble the scene on a cricket field when the bat strikes the ball – the two batsmen dash wildly across the pitch, the fielders run hither and thither and the two umpires skip around nimbly.

The scene in our home – mother would dash off to the bathroom, someone would rush to get the door and stall the maid for a few minutes and I … well I would run hither and thither looking important.

Yet another of my tutors was our back door neighbor at my parents home in Udupi. She had this small wooden apparatus resembling a bonsai version of a cricket bat, which she would apply energetically on the clothes. Bang, bang, bang she would go and the entire neighborhood would know that it was laundry time at their place. After the banging would follow a technique which never failed to delight me. It involved taking a soapy piece of clothing, circling it around the head and bringing it down hard on the washing stone several times.

This technique now goes by the name of the famed Helicopter shot perfected by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, no doubt copied from the above female.

Every time the clothes went flying around in the air, huge droplets of water went spraying out like a sprinkler on a lawn. That explained the stains on the back walls of our first home in Udupi. That also explains why we had to go around shutting all the windows facing the back yard every morning towards 11.00 am or thereabouts.

To be continued…

My blog is riding high with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

You can find my previous posts for Alexa here.

Bollywood Oh Bollywood
A Nursery Rhyme that’s going viral
I blog, therefore I am
Draft to Book – a story in rhyme
And my 2nd book is out

22 thoughts on “This is the way we washed our clothes – The beginning

  1. Leha says:

    This is hilarious, and yes, washing machines are a blessing

    Like

  2. soniadogra says:

    Haha. I would say all of these…I use a washing machine, a dish washer, even an atta kneader and vacuum cleaner! I would be lost without them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!! Man and machine!! 😄😄

      Like

  3. TheMomSagas says:

    Hehe. Can so relate to this post. Hail washing machines!

    Like

  4. Jyoti Jha says:

    That’s one tale washed down the humorous flow of words!
    And indeed I agree Washing Machines are life savers. Thankyou for introducing the inventors to us. All the while I struggle and twist my tongue in pronouncing some of the names, I would definitely not forget to thank them all for rescuing us from gruesome time-consuming chores.
    We keep looking forward to numerous literary work from your mighty pen 😊

    Like

  5. Sailaja says:

    Yes. I totally agree.
    But I do enjoy washing cloths by the side of that well in midst of greenery in my husband’s uncle’s home in Palakkad. Of course, not at all in this modern day households.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Harshita says:

    Ha ha ha, I was chuckling the way through thisbpist. Do you know my PG in Bangalore actually had the washing stone on its roofs for us poor pg girls to wash clothes bang,bang!!
    When I come to think of it, even worse than washing clothes is folding the washed/dry clothes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True that. Many households in Bengaluru have that precious stone up on the open terrace. 😄😄

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Harshita says:

    Plus can I say, how embarrassed I am about my typos? Someone might think my spellings are atrocious 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! No worries. Happens to the best of us! 😄

      Like

  8. Hilarious as usual! And so relatable. I could totally picture your home in Udupi and your tryst with the washing experts. It’s so refreshing to come here and find such pure joy in your writing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heyyy! That’s such a lovely comment. Thank you so much. I’m almost raring to go for one of those helicopter shots myself now!! 💃💃😄

      Like

  9. Shamik says:

    This is awesome. Really we can’t think our life today without a washing machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the washing machine too. It’s my favorite. The happiest day in my life was when I finally got one for my place. Ever since I got a job and moved out, I was struggling without a washing machine. So it’s a very cherished possession indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There you go! Finally one person who understands and sympathises! 😄😄

      Like

  11. Ruchi says:

    Totally agree ..washing machine is a blessing ..I remember my hostel days without it ..such a nightmare

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I can imagine ! 🙂

      Like

  12. practicalmumnupur says:

    hehe! Our home (thanks be to my mother!) was an early adopter of the washing machine but I’ve seen what you’re talking about. Maids and their techniques are quote unique 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those were the days!! Hehe.

      Like

  13. This is super fun. I remember my childhood when we also had the same rituals for washing clothes. My mother alsi had that wooden bat, with which she used to beat the clothes. And my sister and I always made fun of it saying Amma should go and join wrestling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Yes so many memories right? 😄😄

      Liked by 1 person

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