Why do people do such weird things to their clothes? And then insist on doing the same to mine? Like, for instance, this stubborn belief that soaking white items of clothing in a vat of blue dye will magically turn it white.
You know how they show all those detergent ads where people walk around emitting light out of their newly washed clothes? Right, so you know that is some serious bullshit going on because no matter how many brands you switch or how closely you follow the instructions, your whites are never going to emerge from the wash sparkling like diamonds or mimicking a light source. You know that. But where do all those blue dye people get the balls to pull the same stunt?
What genius looked at a dull white shirt one day and thought, “Ha, you know what this needs to make it all bright and shiny like new? Blue dye!”
You know what happens when you soak a white shirt in a bucket full of faintly blue water? You end up with a faintly blue shirt. You know what is the definition of “white”? Well, it sure as hell ain’t eggshell blue! Can you not tell the difference?
It’s one thing to do it to school uniforms, kitchen towels and uncle-ji’s Wednesday office shirt. But must you do it to my camisole tops? And it smells. Don’t tell me it doesn’t – it smells. It smells like wet. And no amount of cologne, deodorant, hairspray, other perfumed chemical can mask it. If you do manage to kill it somehow, it’ll crawl up your nose and die in there so you will smell it all day and know exactly what was done to your clothes even if other people don’t.
And talking of smell: you know what else I don’t understand? Starch. The only good thing starch ever did was to the potato. Yum. But why would you want to pour essence of potato over your clothes so that they could stand up on their own? I don’t want my clothes to get up and walk out of my cupboard. I want them to stay where I put them and not make noises when I walk.
I understand they make your cotton sarees look good. Well, maybe “understand” is taking things a little too far. I’ve seen women go to war against their beloved cottons to emerge victoriously, looking like puffballs and I don’t understand it at all. I must be missing some crucial female gene.
But. My t-shirts. Why would you soak them in starch just because they were cotton and white? Not even the elderly uncles who play badminton at the crack of dawn at the sports club starch their polo necks!
And there’s my dad who washes things in the washing machine. A day when he doesn’t get to wash things in the washing machine is like a day without internet access to me.
“Do you have anything to wash?” he’ll ask hopefully.
“I’m washing things. You can put your things in with my things.”
“I have nothing.”
“What is this?”
“You should wash them occasionally.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you when the occasion comes.”
Pause. “What is this?”
“It’s been lying out here gathering dust for weeks. You should wash it.”
“What’re you talking about? I wore it just yesterday.”
“I don’t know.” He wrinkles his nose and stares down at it. “The presswallah comes tomorrow and if we wash it today, we can get it ironed tomorrow.”
“Thanks but I’ll just put it in the dryer and it’ll be fine.”
I’ve made several unconventional decisions in my life and all my dad has ever said to me are words of encouragement. But everytime I refuse to let him wash my clothes… it’s like stomping on a child who asked for a cookie. It is his ultimate housekeeping skill and I’m the ingrate that won’t let him be the good father he is. And that is how my shirt goes into the wash with the rest of his clothes and comes out happily bedecked with lint. His clothes remain perfectly intact yet half their fabric finds itself as fuzz on mine. It is some sort of miracle expressly designed to aggravate me to an early grave. At least he knows to separate.
Sometimes I miss the days when all I had to worry about was my grandma’s maid beating the everloving hell out of my clothes in an effort to get it clean. Sure, my clothes never lasted beyond the summer. But at least she knew better than to soak it in substances unless specifically directed to do so, and never let colors bleed on each other.