Washeteria, Mumbai-style

November 11, 2013

sheets2 We’re told that most middle class people have washers and dryers in their homes, but choose to send their laundry out, because it’s so inexpensive and takes only one week.

Where do they send it?

wash above

To this massive outdoor washeteria, staffed by 8,000 men. That’s right. 8,000. And only men, we’re told. It’s called Dhobi Ghat.

wash cu

Watching sheets drag and be piled on the dirty ground, I can not even imagine that I would choose this.

wash on roof

Take in this scenario and tell me what you think.

wash overviewIt’s huge.

washAnd more.

wash2Well?  What do you think?


15 comments on “Washeteria, Mumbai-style
  1. PatU says:

    Why? Because when you live in another place, what you can tolerate changes. Our lives are so very antiseptic here!

  2. Jamie Henry says:

    “Watching sheets drag and be piled on that dirty ground…” I’d rather not! One week seems too long. As a child and up ’til now, I’ve always loved doing laundry (even hand wash)….so leave it to me and not those men. Growing up, we’ve only had to replace our washer and dryer once so far, that I know of, and I remember my parents taking me to buy the appliances because they’d let me have the last say. I was like a kid in a candy store! Love the sight of clean laundry hanging, and hate to see dirty ones on the ground. But as PatU said, “…when you live in another place, what you can tolerate changes.”

  3. Well, I guess giving people jobs is better than using machines, right? But no, I don’t think it would be the way I would go. I wonder though if it isn’t the housemaids that are the ones sending it away. Are house servants common even among the middle class?

  4. admin says:

    Don’t know–I’ll ask!

  5. I hired an intern/volunteer years ago from England…she and her husband were in the states for his job and she just wanted something to do. I’ll never forget the story she told me about moving here – she was asking the landlord where to hang the laundry….she told me how she was absolutely mortified that we all had our own washers and dryers. I guess we are spoiled!

  6. donna says:

    Ditto to what Chloe said…that was my first thought. I can’t say I *love* doing laundry, but I do appreciate my “housemaids” in the form of a washer and dryer. Being minimalists as far as clothing {and life} goes, I only do three loads of wash per week {we have 2 of our 4 children still living at home and yes, I still do their wash, but they do know *how* to do it if need be!}. Think about how much of our laundering needs would decrease if we got rid of half of our clothing :).
    What I REALLY want to know is how on earth do they organize all that wash???? And what the heck does their “lost sock” inventory look like??? 🙂

  7. Karen says:

    I’ve always enjoyed doing laundry, and did it the hard way for three of the seven and a half years we lived in Japan. Additionally, I remember when folks had wringer washers here in the states, as my great-grandmother did until I was around ten. My mother cut her hair short when I was about two or three because her long hair got caught in the wringer. I think she got a new washer after that, too. Those three years in Japan involved a tiny, tiny cold water only washing machine, a separate little mechanical spinner and clothes lines. When my hubby lived in Bangalore, India, during his sophomore year in college, his laundry was done on the river bank by the local washers. I imagine that same river collected all the raw sewage as well. With all our special cycles, hot water and wrinkle free drying here in the states, we’re spoiled, even if we go to a laundromat. However, Carol, don’t you think the clothes on even the poorest in India look pretty darn clean and, in the case of the women, colorful?

  8. Haralee says:

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting perspective on something ordinary. Incredible pictures.
    I love the convenience of my washer and dryer in my home administered by me.

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