Living in Hong Kong, I did miss all our local door-to-door vendors – the pau-wala (breadman), macchi-wala (fish monger), doodh-wala (milkman), but most of all I missed the istri-wala(ironing man) who would come every morning greeting us with a big smile on his face delivering a neat pile of freshly pressed clothes and bundling up all the wrinkled ones together. I never once gave a thought at how much effort it took to iron all those clothes, pile them up, balancing that pile on a bicycle and getting them delivered to each house….everyday!
I took up ironing just like I took up taking care of the rest of the household activities and while I promptly delegated most of the menial activities to a part-time helper, I thought I could manage the two new independent firsts in my life – cooking and ironing and I was 32 years old!
While cooking did not help me in any other way except to keep our stomachs full, it was ironing clothes that I actually started taking pleasure in. I would move my ironing board to the living room, get my basket of clothes to be ironed and get ready for the task on hand while sometimes watching an old Hindi movie. I don’t know when I first realised but I got the feeling that the more I ironed, the more I relaxed, I found my mind wandering off to my routine day-to-day activities, things to be done, to-do lists to be created…. all under the fragrance of fresh, crisp laundry. In London it had a dual advantage of keeping my mind occupied and my hands warm. Most of my closest friends know about my affinity towards ironing as this would be the best time for me to have a chat with them and I would often multi-task by giving them a call. With every crease unfolding, I would feel the stress levels go down and a general feeling of peace take over…. maybe now I know why the istri-wala always looked so cheerful?
Having said all this I certainly do not claim that I ‘look forward’ to my bi-weekly task with eager anticipation, definitely not! But if I had to make a choice between all the regular household tasks, ironing would be the undisputed winner! So what are your stress-busters at home?