Remember the old days, when you acquired one of the first few telephones in the neighborhood and all the neighbours used it to make calls or receive calls? Or when you got one of the first TV sets in your area and the entire neighborhood and its domestic servants would camp in your drawing-room to watch the Test match or the Sunday Hindi feature film?
A similar thing is happening to us since we have got a washing-machine in the house. The neighbor lady was the first to come. She told the wife: "I read your mister's article on the washing-machine. It must be a great blessing. I want to have my silk saris and blouses washes in the machine. Only the silks, the others I can give to the laundry. If you show me how, I will run the machine myself."
The wife, worried strange hands would damage the machine, told her she would wash the clothes herself.
The lady from the floor below ours, having heard from out neighbor about the washing facilities we were offering sent a small bundle of clothes. She told the wife: "I will send them every Sunday, or any other day that is convenient to you. I would not have given you trouble, except that I know it is no trouble for you. All you have to do is to press the button and the, machine does everything. I saw it on TV."
Soon more people were bringing their clothes. One lady brought only her husband's clothes. "He says he hates giving them to the laundry, they tear collars, breaks buttons, loosen the elastic band of his Marks & Spencer underwear. He is sure your machine will handle the clothes much more gently."
Another lady, to be fair, brought only her children's clothes. She has seven or eight children, I do know exactly how many. "I give the children's clothes ro the laundry, but we all know that the laudries give them to dhobis. And these dhobighats are breeding grounds for germs. So I though it is safest that you machine should wash them."
Some women have been bringing their own detergents to wash the clothes. One of the women said: "Since we are using your machine daily, we should not unduly tax you by using your soap. Besides, my husband prefers this detergent."
Then there is the wife's sister who wahses her double bedspreads, sheets, pillow-cases, cushion-covers, curtains, towels, napkins, kitchen rags in the machine. And, sonce she does not have enough space to dry them in her house, she dries them in out house.
I have no objection to all this. My problem is that since the machine is so busy, there is no time to washs my clothes. So my clothes are going to the laundry once again.