While living in California, laundry constituted one of the most important activity of the weekend. Luckily, the last abode in California was equipped with a Laundromat that ran on cash cards instead of quarters. Still, there was a last minute anguish on recharging these cash cards instead of the frantic hunt for quarters.
Once the laundry part is over, you are faced with the task of ironing the clothes. The planner that I was, I always did it in just in time! On second thoughts, I did it just in time when there were no options. I had plenty of options in the form of dear ones throughout my life. There were many who helped me to get this task done. Starting with mom and dad, the list of do-gooders comprises of my sister, my cousins, my uncles and my wife.
After moving to India, I was glad when the maid doubled as the Laundromat. No more running around for quarters. But this joy was short lived. In Bangalore, the maid vehemently refused to do laundry. As a result, we bought a washing machine!
For the ironing part, there was an easier solution. The Iron Man! You find this kind in all the communities in a major metro. Armed with an open topped push cart and a coal powered iron that requires considerable horsepower to use, the Iron Man presses your clothes. You may have to bargain on the rates initially when you move into a neighborhood. Be ready to hear his woes of rising coal prices! Depending on the size of the neighborhood, there may be multiple iron men to serve you.
In Bangalore, there is only one Iron Man to serve our neighborhood. The neighborhood consists of a dozen apartments at present. None of these houses more than 16 families. All of us are served by this gentle soul. He always promises to deliver it on time which generally means the end of the day. He is very consistent in not meeting the expectations. Last time, I waited three days before I took the untouched bundle of my clothes back from him. Before this incident, I went looking for him and realized that he went to his home town! Luckily, he left my bundle of clothes with the guard stationed at my apartment.
He does not have to fill in a customer satisfaction survey from me for I would have given him a zero! Angry at the treatment meted out to me, I decided to boycott him! I was successfully able to do this for the past seven day. On one occasion, I ironed it myself. And on other occasions, let me put it this way. My list of do-gooders was appended with two new names – my in-laws! They have been with us since my daughter had the nasty fall.
As with any boycott, this one also has to end. After all, I have to contribute my two cents to stimulate the local economy even if this is in the form of neighborhood Iron Man! He buys coal, recharges his mobile and also eats from a local restaurant. Yes, it is trickling up to fuel the local economy! On top of this, my in-laws also have to go back to their home. They went back yesterday.
I ended the boycott with two bundles of clothes instead of the regular one! I handed them over to the Iron Man by 9 am yesterday. He apologized for his earlier negligence towards my bundles. So he promised to deliver it by the end of the day.
As of 7 am today, I’m still waiting for the Iron man to show up with my two bundles of clothes, pressed and ready to be worn.
Picture Courtesy: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/