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   Recently, we have acquired a washing-machine... (April 22, 1991)

Recently, we have acquired a washing-machine. After consulring several friends and going for demonstrations at Akbarallys we decided on a Sumeet. The salesman explined: it is the only one that makes its own hot water and uses it, others used cold water.

Only after it was delivered at the house did we discover that it did not pass through the bathroom door. After many tries, we had to get a carpenter and a mason, remove the door from its hings, break the wall around it (four inches), and take the machine in. Then the mason reconstructed the wall and the carpenter re-fixed the door. Now the washing-machine is a priosner in the bathroom and can never be taken out.

It stands there between the basin and the WC pot Ė occupaying the place of the shower stall. Which means we cannot have shower anymore. But that does not matter; we can always have a wash in the basin.

The washing-machine itself is a marvel, whoever invented it must be a genius. It washes, it rinses, it dries, it does everything except iron the clothes and wear them. The whole thing is computerised. We use it almost every day, whether our clothes are dirty or not, and whether they require a wash or not.

The first thing we do is separate the clothes, this is very important. We separate them in groups: white cottons, colour fast cottons, cotton mixtures, coloured polyster, linen, woollens, non-fast colours, delicates, nylon whites, silks, etc. It is not a difficult job, except that sometimes we have arguments over whether a particular item is cotton mixture or coloured polyester.

We put one group into the washing-machine at a time, then set the dials accordingly, introduce the required amount of soap solvent, and press the switch. For the next hour, or hour-and-a-half, depending on the programme to which it is set, the machine roars and thunders, occasionally shaking the bathroom and the building. In the beginning, the people staying below us, used to run of their flat, now they only complain.

By now I can tell the different things the machine is doing by the scounds it makes: a long, loud grumble for the main wash, softer but more heartfelt complaint for the rinse, a series of groans and growls for the spin wash. It is an automatic machine and is programmed to shut off on its own when the wash is completed, but I have become a compulsive dial-watcher and deep checking it.

Finally, the clothes are taken out. They are damp, never completely dry. So we hang them up all over our house: on verandahs, doors, windows, on lines strung diagonally across the bedrooms, drawing-room, kitchen, on arms and backs of chairs.

The house does look like a dhobi-ghat. But, I believe, it is better to have a dhobi-ghat. But, I believe, it is better to have a dhobi-ghat in your house than to send you clothes to a dhobi-ghat.

 
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