ʻGanapati Bappa….Moreya!!!ʼ….I heard little Kartikʼs voice in the corridor as I came back from the walk. He was giving the news to his other play mates that Lord Ganesha is coming to his home in a few days time. I could not help but smile at the enthusiasm of the children. It was indeed the start of the festival season. And this was evident in the estate. The houses were being cleaned and decorated. The mommies were seen carrying shopping bags for the past few days. It indeed was an exciting time of the year. “ Hi! Aunty Rao, please join us and give me some ideas for decorating my house for Ganesh Sthapna”, said Nandini. I stepped into her sitting room and was pleasantly surprised to see Neha, Smriti, Bela and Dipti also there, all of them bent over various cartons and boxes and giggling away like small kids. ʻHello Aunty Rao!!!!!ʼ exclaimed all of them together. “Hello girls!!!” I said continuing with the enthusiasm that was filling the room.
“You have a quite a collection of decorative things Nandini” I observed. “I have been doing this for the past couple of years, so I have been collecting a few things Aunty…But this year, I am more concerned about the cleaning of my house. I have been having a few concerns about my kitchen and since I am going to make Ganesha ʼs abode in that corner of the house which is next to the kitchen door, I want to spring clean my kitchen. I will have lots of people coming to my house in these five days, and I dont want my kitchen to smell and look bad. What can I do for that?” asked Nandini. “Lets go to your kitchen then” I said and the rest of the girls followed. Nandini ʼs kitchen was well organised and clean on the surface but required deeper cleaning. “Look at my stove Aunty, I have tried most of the liquids available in the market, but the last layer of grease is still sticking.
What can I use to take that one out without scratching the stove?” Nandini asked. “Well, the best way to keep the stove clean is to keep white vinegar in a spray bottle and when you wipe the stove after cooking every day, spray the greased areas with it so that the grease does not accumulate. But now that the grease has been stuck for a long time, you can use baking soda since its non abrasive and will not scratch the surface of the stove. Sprinkle good amount of baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub the greased surface with this. It surely will remove the grease.” I told Nandini. “ Since kitchen is the place which is frequently exposed to oil fumes, its always advisable to put white vinegar in the water while mopping the floor, this will help in avoiding any grime build ups on the kitchen floor. “Aunty, tell me some home remedy for clearing up my kitchen drains.” said Dipti.
“A good home remedy for unblocking drains is using both the ingredients that I just mentioned. Put half cup of baking soda into the blocked drain, followed by half cup of white vinegar, cover the drain for a few minutes and then flush the drain with warm water. The only precaution that you need to take is not to use the commercial drain cleaners in conjunction with this method, because this can bring out very harmful fumes from the drain” I told everyone.
Looking at the walls which had a thin layer of grime, I told Nandini that she must make it a habit of wiping the walls with a mixture of warm water and chlorine bleach whenever she has been frying or sauteing frequently especially during festival season. “Half a cup of chlorine bleach in four litres of warm water should do the trick”, I added.
“Since we are talking about frying, I am craving for some bhajias”, said Bela. “ It is practically impossible for six indian women to sit together and not have tea and bhajias, isnt it girls?”
“Absolutely” said everyone in chorus. Nandini got up and went to the kitchen to do the needful, and rest of us sat on the dining table and everyone came up with their tasks at hand regarding cleaning of their respective houses.
“Aunty, in my kitchen, the grouting between the tiles has become almost black because of the grime and grease. How can I get rid of that?” asked Smriti. “ For that, make a paste of 1 part borax, 2 parts baking soda and 2 parts water and then scrub the grouting with a tooth brush. This will not only clean the grouting and the tiles but will also disinfect them” I replied. “Talking about Borax, I would like to share a very tried and tested remedy for keeping cockroaches and other such rodents at bay. Make small balls with borax, say about 50 gms and mix it with one teaspoon of cake flour, one teaspoon of milk powder and a pinch of sugar. Knead this mixture like a dough and make small balls and keep these balls in hard-to-reach corners of the kitchen and near the drain holes which are the entry points of cockroaches. You will be amazed how effective this method is” I shared with them.
As the discussion progressed, the main door flung open and marched in Manisha with an apron and cleaning gloves on. “Hey everyoneʼs here, what are you guys uptoʼ she asked.
ʻWe dont really need a reason to sit together, but now that Aunty Rao is here, she is sharing some of her methods for household cleanin ʼ, replied Smriti.
“Wow, that is great because I have been cleaning my bathrooms the whole day and I came to check whether Nandini has any household ammonia lying aroundʼ said Manisha. We all knew Manisha was a cleanliness freak, so I asked why did she need ammonia. “ Well, Aunty a mixture of 3 tablespoons of baking soda and half a cup of ammonia can be an excellent scrub for all the ceramic in the bathrooms. It leaves the bathroom surfaces gleaming. I have tried it a number of times and it works brilliantly, and I have also been cleaning the taps and showers with white vinegar as you suggested a couple of months ago. My bathrooms look spik and span” Manisha replied.
“Infact I must suggest that you all must keep lots of white vinegar at home. It is one of the best tool for cleaning kitchen and bathrooms. It is a cheap way of cleaning or wiping kitchen cupboards or kitchen counters, removing rust stains in the bathrooms, cleaning sinks, tubs, toilets and tiles. Practically most of the things that can acquire a lining of grease or grime can be cleaned with white vinegar” I concluded my talk with this. “Tea and Bhajias ʼ!!! announced Nandini. As the afternoon progressed, Nandini decided what to put where while decorating the house, what ʻprasadamʼ she will be preparing for all these days and I could feel the enthusiasm mixed with faith and devotion all over the house and knew that Ganesha will surely have a good stay in this house!