My friend, neighbour and colleague B was leaving Chennai recently as her assignment here was completed. Packing was the usual nightmare and to take belongings and clothes back luggage was way over the airline weight allowance. Gifts were given, and anything which really had no possible further use went out in the rubbish. Included in the rubbish was a bag of old clothes which had well outlived their usefulness. We arrived back from work together that evening – and we were met by a smiling watchman who handed B a mystery carrier bag, asking for 25 rupees. He couldn’t understand our blank faces and we couldn’t understand what on earth this was all about. B peeked into the bag and was instantly enlightened. All of her discarded old clothes had been sent to the ironing shop, by the proactive watchman, ironed on credit, and returned to her within the day!!
So what is this ironing shop? When we arrived in Chennai we learned that there is a specific local industry which takes care of all ironing and removes the hassle and time consuming mind-numbing task from the day to day chores. Ironing is immediately outsourced to – the ironing shop! On most streets in the residential areas, there is at least one stall, set on what looks like large bicycle wheels, surrounded by bundles of laundry and with a huge non electrical iron. For around 2 - 3 rupees per item, your ironing is completely taken care of at the ironing shop and everybody is happy.
On sharing B's lovely tale with a friend in the Netherlands, who is also Indian, she observed that in Europe you have to wash and clean your rubbish before you throw it out! Only in India does your discarded rubbish come back to you all fresh and ironed!
The gentleman who taught infinity
3 years ago