Jan 19, 2010

The Ultimate Washing Method (Regd.)

It was the last leg of the Mumbai marathon and there was just half a kilometer left. I was putting in whatever I had, which might be illegally termed as reserve energy since it was mostly fueled by a weekend dosage of cheap whiskey. Every step that I took left a puddle of sweat in its wake, quickly attracting hordes of flies who probably thought it was an aphrodisiac and went about increasing the entomological population of Mumbai calmly. As if they needed a reason to. Anyway, 15 minutes later twenty people saw me raise both my hands in victory and cheered. The others had obviously left. Two of them came running to me holding pepsi cans which turned out to be deodorant sprays. Anyway, overwhelmed by my elation, I removed my dark brown T-shirt in preparation for the ritualistic victory dance. Dark brown? I had started off with a white shirt. My senses stopped playing musical chairs at my behest and the T-shirt still remained brown. Realization dawned upon me like the due diligence reports of Sriram Chit Funds' balance sheet along with a rather clamorous bell chiming loudly.

I roused myself from the nightmare with the pillow sticking to my face and the doorbell conducting a gong thani aavarthanam. The peephole revealed a stooping dark figure who bore faint resemblance to Luke Skywalker seconds after he was told about his exact relationship with Princess Leia. Gingerly I opened the door to my dhobi. He dumped a bunch of dirty washed clothes on me, snorted, thrust a shrinkled finger into my solar plexus and made me swear never to call him again in his, his missus' or my life and bolted. All before you can say, "Deferred Tax".

That's how started, my search for the Ultimate Washing Method.

The ultimate washing method is an overrated sequence of events whose single main objective is three-fold

a) Clean, fresh, lavender smelling clothes
b) Minimal usage of user-generated calories and
c) I forgot the third one; something to do with Bengalis

My search took me to unexplored terrains of supermarkets, hypermarkets, capital markets, hot neighbor's kitchen, hot neighbour's hot daughter's study, drab maids, marathi training courses and public washrooms. But everything has a starting point: like equity capital. Not quite a fan of do-it-yourself, except when it comes to pulling wire over the cable TV operator's eyes, I decided to take the moral high ground. Armed with 1/2 a kilo of 1 kilo Tide detergent (courtesy:hot neighbour), a bucket (courtesy: hot neighbour's daughter) and a smarting rear (courtesy: hot neighbour's husband), I proceeded to follow the instructions given behind the packet. 

#1 was destined to be a bust. To start with, I ended up washing myself up more than my clothes. Secondly, there was the Inverse Law of Soaking: The more you soak, the more it stinks and the less you soak, the dirt stays. After a lengthy discussion that I had with my mother, involving several, rather all possible allegories to the lackadaisical routine with which I was conducting myself, there resulted a few significant changes. Experiment #2 was supposed to be fail-proof, IMHOTBS certified and maa-approved.

However, #2 had a major fault; entirely unrelated to the Adyar flyover and the Bandra-Worli sealink. Too much muscle movement. At that rate I would burgeon a hunchback and haunt the streets of Anna Nagar singing, "Sudsway to Heaven", "November Dirt" and "Hey, Nee Romba Azhukka Irukka". Exercising my final option, I bought a highly advanced (periodically not technologically) washing machine. Most of the buttons were Greek with occasional Latin and Tulu thrown in. I rose to the challenge and studied the wrong manual for three days. In fact, I knew every line in the wrong manual so well that I could have sold the machine to a naked aborigine without blinking. Many days later, after the discovery of my error and earfuls to customer care reps at Videocon I obtained the right manual and continued experiment #3.
To sum up the results of experiment #3: The Google-Wave effect. Too many choices spoiled the froth.

I was nearly at the end of my clothes-line. I lay on my couch, silently ruing the fate of the UWM, thwarted by my own dirt as SunTV replayed the trailer of Sherlock Holmes (Tamil). I could see my future dimming from zany, Louis Phillipe shirts to a brownish, blackish mass of sober, dark shirts that made me look like a walking coffin. 

Holmes..???!!! How could I have been so blind? The discovery was so brilliant it made Archimedes look like a streaking freak.

It was elementary dear reader. No, seriously elementary. You see it was all in that Tide detergent packet. The only problem was, it did not contain detergent.

It contained our dear, old sodium chloride. (courtesy: stupid, hot neighbour)


Partha Pratim said...

Write more frequently. I don't need to mention here that you are a good writer :)

Vaporizing Phantasm said...

Lol. Genius! LOVE that one liner

Too many choices spoiled the froth

I second Partha. Please write more.

Davadaroo Baba said...


Ingenious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ingenious said...

you forgot to complete the story... You didnt write how after discovering that it was sodium chloride you went to hot neighbour and thanked her for the sodium chloride with your life(which she obviously refuse to accept) and was blushing when she said your t shirt (same brown shirt from your glorious victory dance)looks clean.. :)

nice one though :)
and as everybody has already said you should start using your free time from office to write more often

sirpy said...


Thats a great compliment coming from one of the greatest walking dictionaries I've known.. Thanks man.. Office has held up proceedings da.. No access and no time..


You are one of the main reasons I still blog.. :) *too much senti but wat ta da, tis te fact*

@Davadaroo Baba

Thanks for dropping by..!!


He.. He.. Then sooner or later, Penthouse will call me to write one of their columns.. And thanks man, but you know our office na.. :D

Sairekha said...

I'm back after almost a year.. and boy! You're getting funnier:) Your blog is a breath of fresh air between a particularly boring due diligence report:)

Sirpy said...


Welcome back, ma'am..!! Will take a sip of your lemon juice.. :)

Sirpy said...

@Partha: Sure da.. Just not getting the juice... ;)

@VP: Romba nandri.. I try.. :)

@Davadaroo Baba: Thanks for dropping by..!!

@ingenious: You know what office means... :P