Noticed you have been clapping for a bit of my stuff. So I’ll take a few minutes to try to reduce that ‘depressing’ feeling caused by my post.

25 years ago was when washing machines first began to catch on in India. That was when the Indian economy opened up (only two ancient models of cars were available in India till the mid 80s). Then there’s the population. At 1 billion, many homes in big cities get running water only for a few hours. So manual, top-loading washing machines were the ones that sold. The stay-at-home womenfolk of those days would plop in clothes, pour in water, run the wash mode, drain, pour in more water… you get the picture. Before washing machines, we had dhobis. This is a community (they still exist) who would come home, pick up your clothes, wash them in God knows in what water, and deliver them to you, cleaned and ironed, for a nominal fee.

25 years later, we are catching up but the rest of the world. But there’s nothing we can do nothing about that population, which is now 1.5 billion or maybe more. Water is still in short supply and things can get dicey if the seasonal rains fail. Most homes store whatever ‘tap’ water comes for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc.

For all other needs including washing clothes, we use ground water which is pumped up by bore wells. But this is ‘hard’ water, and the original washing machines weren’t designed for hard water. Chemicals to clean the caked interiors only work to a certain extent. The issue is the machines slow down, and electricity bills go sky high. Repairing them is expensive and pointless. If you put in a bit more, you can get one of the new ones that are designed to work with hard water. The bright side is India has a thriving recycling economy, and my online seller knocked almost 25% off the price of the new machine, as exchange value for my old machine.

One last thing. There used to be a big market for washing machines, that weren’t used for washing. This is an ad for a bank that features an executive from a washing machine company from Poland (fictional). Bit of a spoiler but lassi is a Indian form of yoghurt. Yup, our world is a fascinating place.

it’s an odd world

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