Clothes — Washing and Folding
I would like to introduce myself as the father of 2 girls, and the husband of 1 wife. By the way, the wife is also a girl (woman).
I don’t know how long I will be introducing myself in this way, because at the extent to which the age difference between my wife and mine is diverging, it may not be long before I introduce myself as a father of 3 girls.
Someone said that women are from Venus and men from Mars. I haven’t read that book, but I can tell you a statistic that proves that this is right. One day on Mars is equal to one day on Earth. But do you know what it is on Venus — 116 Earth days? A man ages 116 times faster compared to a woman. The case is closed.
Let’s come back to our topic.
Washing and Folding — clothes specifically.
Let’s start with Washing. I don’t do the washing at home, sometimes I do. But I am the self-designated person looking out for clothes that need to be washed. It wasn’t always like this. Maybe ten years ago, I was particularly jobless on a weekend having gotten bored of watching something on TV and decided to make myself useful. I went around the house looking for clothes that could be washed by the maid. Found a good pile, and one saree that my wife had worn to a wedding the previous night. It was a silk saree. Seemed to have the same shiny look, but as I went close to it, it felt like this needed a good wash. So, I picked it up and dumped it at the designated washing place in the house. Job done, announced the same to my wife and got some good compliments for it. Felt proud. A few hours later, the wife is now frantically searching for the silk saree, there’s commotion, where has it gone. I nonchalantly announced that it was in the washing area. I think I somehow survived becoming an entry in the next day’s Crime Beat section in the paper. The first life lesson is that all clothing cannot be washed with water.
The next one was colours. Most of the clothes worn by women tend to play with the water every day. If the colour of the garment happened to be red, then it looks grisly. Soaking up the ladies’ clothes with a white coloured shirt results in a joyful and colourful celebration for the shirt and shock and awe me. This was the second life lesson. Some things never stop giving.
And now to folding. I like to maintain my things in an orderly manner. Papers on one side, stationery on the other, computer in the middle etc. Clothes had escaped my attention for some time as it was always the “hangar” where shirts and pants would end up. Due to the pressures of the growing family, some rearrangement of the wardrobe took place, and there was no place for hangars anymore. The shirts and pants had to be folded and stored. I had seen my dad do it, and after a few tries got to know the trick of folding the shirts, pants were easy. My wife was again impressed with my usefulness at home and said that I can do the same for her and the kid’s clothes. I said “yes”. Taking up that responsibility turned out to be the reason for many of many more life lessons. As men, we are turned to well-defined clothing. Pants, Shirts and inner-wear. These are in predictable shapes and designs and can be folded in the same few steps. Mapping this to my engineering skills, the root object is man, clothing types are 4 or maybe 5, and well-defined steps take this to a conclusion of the task on hand.
The ladies’ clothes are something altogether. There is still the root object, which is a woman, but then the number of clothing types is N tending to Infinity in the first level, and it is the same in the next level too.
Take the saree, it is 6 feet long and some are 8 feet long. How the heck do you consistently get from one end to the other and wrap and fold it? I have been prompted to voluntarily hug the salesmen in saree shops, these are truly divine beings.
Next comes the choice of most working women when it comes to Indian clothes — the salwar kameez. It is not one type, it is a name for a family of infinite designs and colours. The most innocent ones maintain the same circumference from top to bottom, others flare at the waist, and some flare even higher. Some end at the knee, some go on till the ankle, and some others stop at the waist. In my innocent engineering mind, coming up with well-defined steps became next to impossible. Do I fold this twice lengthwise or thrice, how do I deal with the flare, is there a different folding pattern needed there? The shortcut that seemed to work most is the “roll”, just roll and pretend it is equal to “folding”.
With men, pants and shirts are independent objects. A pant goes with any shirt and so on. With Jeans becoming formal wear, one pant can go with any shirt.
I assumed the same would work with the salwar as well. So, after giving up folding and going with the roll, I picked up all these rolls and stored them in one section of the wardrobe. The bottom part of the salwar was better behaved, but not by much — these also have flares, some of them are funnily designed, and it balloons at unexpected places. I folded the bottom sections to the best of my abilities and stacked them separately. Getting ready for the office the next day and not wanting to miss the check-in time, the wife picks up a “rolled” salwar of a particular shade and the bottom seems to be missing. The question was posed to me, “the orderliness captain of the house”. I pointed to the stack of the “bottoms”. I think something heavy flew past my head that day.
So, the life learning here was when it comes to ladies’ clothes, the “many” to “one” doesn’t hold good. You need to store the “rolled top” and bottom together.
With the growing acceptance of western clothing, the wife decided to embellish her wardrobe with western clothes. I thought this was a good thing. Western clothing means — shirts, tops and pants. Simple to imagine and simple to fold. How wrong I was. While pants maintain some kind of sanity, the other clothing parts are as crazy as their Indian cousins.
Did you know for some of the tops, there are two parts, one inner layer and an outer one. These are not attached to each other but have to be together. When folding, the person responsible should know this — and ensure they are never separated.
And one type is a “crop” top. I know what you are thinking. Crop is related to agriculture and all the healthy food.
Then there are frocks and skirts, and that is a whole new topic for another day.
And that comes to the last life lesson. Women are complicated to understand, their clothing is even more. All your engineering lessons bite the dust in no time.
If you have any suggestions to help, please drop me a line. We men are in this together.
Got to go now, it looks like a new pile of clothes to fold is ready and the wife is telling me this in her soft voice, but my ears are ringing.
So long folks…