'Ma what is wrong with my uniform?', Nallu called out from her bedroom.
‘What is the problem?’, her mother Madhavi was busy in the kitchen.
‘It is not fresh’
‘What you mean not fresh, I washed it only yesterday’
‘Look, its not white anymore. Seems you have not washed it at all’
‘The other day, our teacher told I should buy a set of new uniform or this should be washed well’. Nallu came to the kitchen to show her mother what she was talking about.
True, Mdhavi, herself had noticed that. After every washing, the uniform-the white shirt and navy skirt –is only turning duller. The white shirt has turned a shade of yellow and the blue skirt is loosing its blue. So to make it better each time she soaks it longer and longer in the soap mixture but only it gets worse. It is embarrassing to a child when pinpointed amidst classmates that her uniform needs washing. It affects her mentally and emotionally. Other children do not know the struggle of an ordinary parent who struggles hard to send them to school and to make both ends meet.
‘Ok ma, do not worry, I shall iron it again so that it looks stiff and better’
Nallu ironed her uniform once again, wore it to feel better.
‘If only that miss does not harass me today’, she thought while chasing for the school bus waited outside their residential area.
Next week Madhavi was invited to attend a school function. Then she got a chance to see other children's uniform. They were all smart, bright and shinning. She felt bad for Nallu who stood out among the rest for her dull uniform. But she knows that they all buy the uniform from the same soap, so the difference could be in the washing. May be they use a special soap power, or what. She was really confused.
Then she saw Mala. She was very much impressed with her uniform too. She knew Mala’a mother when they had worked together. But how could she manage it, she wondered.
Without waiting any time, she took Radha, Mala’s ma to one side and asked ‘How do you manage?
It is all white and bright’
‘I do not know what to do’
‘What is the problem? Is everything ok at home? What about your work? Is it your husband’. Radha was very concerned about her old friend.
‘No nothing like that, my problem is Nallu’s uniform’
‘What problem with uniform, I do not understand’
‘You see the more I wash them, the more they go frail and dull. And there is a teacher in her class who always harasses her for that. And then you know, she becomes very frustrated. The other day she had asked me whether I could find another school for her’
‘Oh my dear. That is all’. Radha was relieved.
‘Look’ she started speaking like an expert. ‘Malu was also complaining to me everyday about her uniform’
‘It is so bright’
‘Listen, until I bought that washing machine’
‘Hi washing machine!! Even for washing there is a machine. I have never heard of it!’
‘Ya there is one. Isn’t this new technology, amazing!’
‘How does it look like?’
‘You see, I cannot explain it just like that’. After a while she said, ‘do one thing come to my home this Sunday. You can see it yourself’
It looked to Madhavi like a tall white box. Radha gave her an instruction to how does it work. Before lifting its top lid and inserting soiled clothes into its hue belly, she explained the function of each button on its top panel. She showed her the soap-loading section. Then she took a big packet on which it was written detergent.
‘This is called detergent’
‘Detergent!! not soap powder’
Madhavi watched the machine with suspicion and curiosity. She felt embarrassed that she did not know anything about it before. She looked at her fingers that were once supple and soft, now turned rough and ugly due to the constant exposure to soap.
Before her surprise was over, there came a knock at their door. A gentleman entered the kitchen when Radha opened the door.
‘Madhavi, I had asked this gentleman to come over here to assist you’, she introduced them each other.
‘Assist me for what’
‘Oh, this is my neighbour who had introduced this machine to me. He is a sales agent for the machine’.
‘Oh no!’ Radha felt worried, to buy a machine like that had never crossed her mind so far.
‘Thnaks, Radha, but I do not think I can afford this. No it costs a lot’
‘Look Radha, that was how I also thought’. She looked at the agent.
Look sister’, I shall make it easy for you. That is why I am here. You pay on easy terms’
‘Means, just raise a Rs. 300 per month,
'Rs. 300, that sounds reasonable’
‘Look, Radha, I save it from the shopping money. Moreover, I need not have to spend now two hours on every alternate days to soak my hand and the linen in soap. The machine does it all. So, I do some tailoring now, and make some extra money’
It sounded reasonable to her. When she thought of Nallu having a bright uniform to wear to school, she did no think much more.
The agent made her sign on a few papers here and there. After that he assured the machine would be delivered at her place that day afternoon.
When he dropped the machine that day afternoon at Madhavis' home, he gave her some some technical tips:
q Both the soaps and the detergents are the same in terms of their chemistry, but detergent is synthetic and work faster. More over there are researches going on in the field of detergents to make it more and more efficient and user-friendly.
q One such innovation is the Surf Excel Matic detergent. They come separately for the front-loading and the top loading machines. Yours is a top-loading machine. So when you buy the detergent always look for the top loading one.
q Front loading detergent is generally more expensive than the top-loading one.
q Surf Excel Matic has special chemistry to cut through adamant stains and to make the white clothes snow white and shiny. So that will solve all your problems and Nallu is no more going to complain about her dull uniform. And she is going to be more confident in her classroom and you will see that your spend is worth it.
q And more especially there is no more soaking of the clothes in the bucket, it is all done inside the machine and so you get more free time.
q Always read the instructions carefully before using them.
This post is for the 'The Surf Excel Matic #Soak No More' Contest