Earlier today, I exchanged a few words with our apartment building’s “ironing man.” He rang the bell and proceeded to knock on our door with an urgency that should be reserved for someone who ate too much bhel poori trying to get into a loo.
After handing me my neat pile of freshly ironed clothes, he informed me that if I wanted him to hang shirts on hangers (that I provide), he’ll charge an extra Rs 2 per item.
“What? Why?” I ask. “It’s easier to hang clothes than to fold them.”
“No it isn’t,” he replied.
“Why not?” I ask
“I’m used to folding clothes. I’m not used to hangers.”
I give him what I hope is an incredulous “yeah, right” look and pay him for my clothes. “Two rupees extra,” I mutter under my breath. I feel like I should add a Scrooge-like “Bah humbug” to that.
And that’s when it struck me. I have completely and totally embraced my role as a desi housewife. Here’s why:
- I have someone in my life I refer to as an “ironing man” (incidentally, he bears no resemblance to Robert Downey Jr). And I argue with him over two rupee price hikes. In my previous American avatar, I would have been like, “oh, the downtrodden masses. Let me give him three rupees extra.” Not anymore. Bah humbug.
- I have a more plastic bags than I have place for. I have a bag full of plastic bags. And I find it incredibly hard to part with any of them. I also save old jam bottles.
- I have a “most wanted” list. Of those who haven’t returned my Tupperware.
- I don’t mind buying clothes which say, “Hand-wash only” because someone else can handle that for me.
- The word “advance” has an ominous ring to it. Especially when it’s uttered in the middle of the month by people working in your home.
- I have conversations about my maid woes with other people. Especially women people. Like full length, legit conversations.
- I have this uncanny feeling that the vegetable guy is tricking me. (And the price of tomatoes these days! Really!)
- Speaking of money, I’ve informed my progeny that it doesn’t grow on trees. Many times. Somehow, they don’t seem to have fully grasped my message.
- I line kitchen shelves with newspapers. I mean what’s the point of shelf liners when you have the Times of India?
- I ask the store guy if the bread is fresh. He fervently assures me that it came in only that morning. I don’t believe him. It doesn’t stop me from asking him the same question in a few days.
- I don’t bat an eyelid when I get curry leaves as a substitute for change.
- My menu for the week alternates between sambar-rice and dal-chappati. (Hey, at least I’m switching it up between north India and south India.)
- I laugh in the face of empty shampoo bottles. Empty? Yeah, right. A good squirt of water and there’s enough in there for three more showers. Maybe four. Take that, Pantene!
There’s probably a bunch of other reasons to point to the fact that I’ve embraced this identity wholeheartedly. But I really have to sort through my ironing clothes now.