1945: Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombed.
1975: Indira Gandhi imposes emergency in India.
2005: Washerwoman at New Boys Hostel , IIM C goes missing.
Our washerwoman is missing.Its been more than a week now.She has not turned up at our hostel.
Dirty clothes lie crumpled in the plastic bucket just outside the door of my room , gathering dust.The wooden racks in the corridor which lovingly held freshly washed shirts and shorts , dripping water onto the floor , now stare at me with empty arms. I lie in my room , staring at the ceiling.Looking at the blades of the fan cutting imperfect circles.Reminds me of how the drier of the fully automatic washing machine at my home used to rotate in those gracious rounds.
I hear someone outside.Is she here ? Is she ? I jump out of the bed and step out in the corridor with an eager anticipation.Its a cat , trying to grab something from the plate kept outside , in which I had those incredibly shitty Maggi noodles yesterday night.She looks at me .Meows.Crumpled clothes in the bucket.Empty drying lines.I sneak back into the bed and stare at the ceiling.
My mind drifts off to those days.Seems like yesterday.Carefree.Covered bodies.Freshly washed clothes smelling of detergents.How happy I was.Used to carelessly fling the dirty pair of jeans in the bucket kept outside.And the next day it would be there.Washed.Neatly ironed.A few burns.But far from a burnt sandwich.Vintage days.
And now.I look at the shorts I am wearing.It a recordbook of my culinary exploits over the last four days.There is this fresh ketchup stain I pasted near the right pocket half an hour ago.Thats what happens when u try to dip a sandwich in a ketchup bowl kept in your lap while trying to catch a "mithun-da" action movie on the computer.They should have told me before mithunda yelled "Ma kasam!!!" so loudly that i spilled the ketchup onto my shorts.Oh , there is also this "Shahi Paneer" gravy stain on the left side.Or is it the cheese that fell from the pizza ? I have to scrape it off and taste it to know the answer.There must be many more footprints of what I ate ,all over my shorts.But I think you are already feeling full.
But the good part is that I dont see any stains on the tee shirt on my body.Because I dont see a tee shirt on my body. When your washerwoman is missing over the last seven days , dignity is something you put on the pillion seat of the scooter of life.Dignity can wait when you dont know what you will wear the next time u step out of the bathroom.
Just one light yellow chequed shirt lies in my wardrobe.That can cover me up for tomorrow.Day after tomorrow ? The question threatens me with an future projected scene involving semi nudity in the class.A topless me in the class, though hopefully appreciated by the girls , wont exactly generate a lot of accolades from the professors.I have to cover my top when going to class.That worries me.
I called home in the morning.Ma has told me something about putting in the clothes in a lot of water and letting the clothes stay in water for half an hour and then putting in a lot of detergent and then washing them hard and then taking the clothes out and wringing them and then letting them dry.Looks as easy as Bangladesh beating Australia.Oops.Now that they have actually beaten the Aussies, ill change it.Looks as easy as making Salmaan Khan keep on a shirt over an entire movie.Im sorry , but I am just too obsessed with clothes right now.
Ill have to come out of this inertia soon.Ill will have to carry out my debut "clothes-washing" innings soon.Otherwise I have an alternative plan.I will wrap around a newspaper.And since I am at a Business School , The Economic Times seems an apt one to cover myself with.Business Dressing ?
Listen Miss.washerwoman , I would smile on your sense of absentminded-ness if you burn a gateway through my favorite blue shirt.I would knowingly leave a minimum of five rupees in the hip pocket of every trousers i put in for washing.If i get the time , I will help you in washing on the weekends.I will get you the most wonderful detergents which will keep your hands as soft as a baby's bottom.I will give you extra cash on every diwali , christmas , Ambedkar Jayanti , Guru Nanak Jayanti, Makar Sankranti , Maha Shivratri , Holi and Hanuman Jayanti.But please come back.I need you.The new boys hostel needs you.