Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Ironman Triathlon

Well, I wish I could do that. I don't know to swim (contrary to popular perception, I have learnt three times and forgotten all three times). I am wary of cycling. But I can run. Anyway, the triathlon is surely wishful thinking as of now. The Ironman is, well, just completely out of my league. But be that as it may.

Yesterday, I suddenly realised that the iron-board was creaking under the weight of clothes sitting atop it. Skipped the morning exercise thing (anyway the gym is closed on Mondays; my running partner has scooted to the US for the summer; my walking partner (mum) is back home) and decided to attack the creature bravely.

First, the tiny little t-shirts, mostly pink in colour. Have to be ironed ulta so the graphics and letters don't melt.

My dad was a chronic iron-er. He needed EVERYTHING, by which I really do mean EVERYTHING, neatly pressed. His shirts and pants went to the dhobi. The lazy old man in the place opposite. They got stacked in the godrej. Prior to wearing the shirt, just prior to it, he would fire up the box and iron out the wrinkles where the sleeves were folded and so on.

Okay, moving on to the handkerchiefs. Whats this? Holes in all of them where they were safety pinned to the t-shirts? Oh well.

His bathing was a ritual. Most irritating when I was next in line. Recall it fondly now. Towel, undie, banian, dhoti, all white with that ridiculous Robin Blue happening all over it, all ironed and folded in specific ways had to be kept ready. He would take eons to bathe. Drag this huge copper pot of cold water over himself PSCHAAK. Mum would yell. DON'T LIFT THAT HEAVY POT. To no avail. Later, mum did the needful and hid away the pot so the man had to bathe using a mug like a decent human being, or at least a human being with a heart condition.

Uff. These interminable shorts. Why bother ironing stuff she wears only at home? At night?

Me, on the other hand, was (still am) quite a casual bather. Not to mention demonstrating a distinct tendency to iron my school uniform salwar knee-down only (which is the only part that showed under the kameez; and yes, in 11th and 12th, we had to wear these horrid salwar-kameez uniforms). The skirt with pleats was at a younger, healthier time. Dad would try to iron it for me but usually the pleats frustrated him. He would mutter disapprovingly if I suggested we give up on the ironing totally. I did not care much. But, he would not hear of it.

Ah, beautiful frocks that the monster cribs so much about wearing. What's this? White lining material? Nice. Irons well.

Mum has, in their long years of marriage and togetherness, picked up the ironing bug. She is markedly more efficient of course (mum is almost synonymous with efficiency. bustling with efficiency is a good way to describe her; in her walks, cooking, cleaning, gardening, everything). For long years she maintained a semblance of normalness at home, ironing the towel and so on quickly, so that it would seem that the only reason dad did not get to iron his own clothes is that mum got to them first. Not that his shoulder was dislocated last night. Not that this morning he is still reeling under the medication. Even when he was in the hospital for the nth time, he was allowed to wear his own clothes, and they were pristinely ironed.

The pants are all of varied lengths. Barbie proclaims this one (yeah right! bought it at 50 bucks). Everything is short for her. This devilish creature with her daddy's long legs.

Although it has been years since a dhoti has been ironed in my presence (or, for that matter an undie), everytime I stand here at this nice ironing board (bought by my father-in-law, a man I have never seen in front of an iron-box. When we go out for dinner though, he is the most smartly dressed, his sons look like crumpled heaps next to him :-)), I remember those days. The smell of a long time ago. A snaking coiling iron-box wire that I burnt innumerable number of times. Our special, sturdy, huge, ironing table with the cabinets below that housed my 'home clothes.' Oh, even those patches of Robin Blue Blue on dad's white towel.

I WILL iron the monster's clothes myself. Next year, I will have her school uniforms to do. I do hope I remember how the pleats should be done.


Serious Lounger said...

Crumpled heaps, eh.. agree that dad is the one that is the most smartly dressed.. yer hubby and moi are just casually dressed.. we anyways have to wear ironed shirts and suits to work, whats the point wearing them when you go out with famille for dinner?? the brats are back - i shall have to compose a post on the travails of a dad :D :P..

kbpm said...

dont worry you all look very natty in the office garb. :-)

Neha said...

:) I remember! I remember! Wasn't there a slab of tile to place the iron box on?

kbpm said...

go and look, it must still be there. :-) doubt if mum would have thrown such a usual innovation!!

Laasya said...

Mosaic Tile. I still remember!

the mad momma said...

tagged! becaues that is the only way to get you to write!

dipali said...

Hey, lovely post!
I try not to iron anything if I can help it:) My Dad was the ironing champion at our place, always very nattily dressed. Now he lives in worn out, soft shirts and pyjamas, almost bedridden. Such is life.