AUNTY RAO, AUNTY RAOʼ, came the piercing voice of Bela from balcony downstairs. Knowing her, a small jerk is equivalent to an earthquake. I took my time to reach the balcony, folded my crotchet neatly and put it in the almirah and finished my last sip of tea and reached my balcony. There she was!…Lo behold holding a saree with a big curry stain on it!!!
Look Aunty Rao, what must I do now. Its a brand new cotton saree, worn for the first time and my little one splashes curry and rice on it. ʼ The stain was definitely scary. Turmeric in curry is the main culprit in such stains and I knew it was going to put up a tough fight. So I had to think of a good strategy to win this battle. I asked Bela to rinse it thoroughly with warm water from backwards to outwards so that oil and spices are pushed out of the fabric in the same way that they had come. Glycerine was my first weapon. I took glycerine and rubbed the stain with it, and then washed it with “Vanish”. ʻNow Bela, lets put it out in the sun for a while because sunlight helps the turmeric to fade. And if the stain still persists, then we will have to use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water and the stain will surely go away. With all this friendly ruckus created in the balcony, rest of my neighbour buddies also came in their balconies and as always everyone came with their own predicaments about the stains. ʻLets have tea togetherʼ was the first step towards such meetings.
So their comes my gang of 6 fiesty ladies, all younger to me, keeping me young at heart too. As I put the kettle on, I heard the door bell and the whole army marched in. Neha had a wax stain which had spoilt her favourite table cloth. I took the table cloth and put it in the freezer. Everyone was intrigued to what I was upto! ʻWax needs to harden before we do anything to it ʼ I told everyone. ʻSo till the wax hardens, lets finish our tea and get on with more stains ʼ. Thus, came forward Smriti with her beautiful white blouse with a red wineʼ stain. I sympathetically told Smriti that it wont be easy to take this one out because it has dried. Had it been fresh, the best remedy would have been to put lot of salt onto the stain so that it does not spread and then if the stain is soaked in white wine or vinegar, it usually clears the fabric of the stain. But now that it has dried, we will have to use baking soda. I made a thick mixture of baking soda and water and applied it to the stain and told Smriti to keep moistening it for a couple of hours and told her that she must then wash the blouse with cold water and detergent. As we sipped our tea, the discussion progressed to more stains. Dipti had had a bad cut on her finger while chopping vegetables a couple of days ago and that had stained her apron and to have blood stains in the kitchen is definitely an ugly sight. She had washed the stain with hot water and soap and thus was able to get rid of it but it still had a yellow mark. I told her that using hot water was the mistake that she had made. Hot water usually makes the blood to set. Blood stains can be easily removed by washing them with cold water and soap as soon as possible. Applying baking soda or meat tenderiser mixed with water also takes out the blood stains effectively.
AUNTY RAO SPEAKS….
Manisha was a cleanliness freak and cleaning her house was what she loved the most. She was battling to keep her taps and showers off the water marks. The simplest way is to dip a piece of cloth in vinegar and wipe the surface of tap or shower and the marks go away in a jiffy. If there are water marks on any wooden furniture, the best way is to put a cotton or linen cloth on the stain and gently put a medium hot iron(no steam press) on top of the cloth. This vaporises the mark off. The usual banter went on, and now was the time to take out the table cloth out of the freezer. The wax had hardened which I scraped out and the job was all done! We all had a chuckle on how easy that was. I now told them that had the wax been thick, then we should place the fabric between two paper towels and iron it so that the wax melts and is absorbed by the paper towels.
As our meeting wound up and we started to take the tea cups into the kitchen, bang went Anu ʼs cup and the left over tea in the cup spilled onto my carpet. Instead of feeling sorry, we all started laughing at the appropriateness of the event. I quickly grabbed a handful of talcum powder and put it on the stain. The powder quickly absorbed the tea and now I just had to apply the carpet cleaner to get rid of any marks left. After everyone left, I sat again with my crotchet and knew it wont be long that another such session will take place, albeit, with another set of predicaments and challenges that housekeeping faces…wondering when and what?
AUNTY RAO SPEAKS….