Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Iron-man" at your service

A few days ago I wrote about the common services that you can enjoy at your doorstep in Bangalore, here. But I consciously did not write about the ironing service, because THIS service deserved its own post. I am not really dependant on this service, preferring to just iron my clothes at home. My husband, however, is a true appreciator of the "iron-man". Hub has always HATED ironing his shirts and trousers, mostly cause he found it extremely painful to get the creases right. I am sure a lot of us will agree that men's clothes are so much harder to iron than women's. In the SF bay area, he often wore clothes that were either easy to iron, or those that retained some from a previous wear! However, here he is getting spoilt silly!
Typically, this service has a "working model". It is mostly family run, with all the nuclear family members involved with one setup. The 'iron-family' that has our area under its "jurisdiction" consists of 3 people - dad, mom, and a young son. There is an unsaid law amongst the 'iron-men'. They don't infringe on the next guy's area/customers. This family always comes to our street early every Sunday morning. Their usual spot is under a particular tree on the pavement. The boy goes to the homes of his regular customers and collects clothes for ironing. He does not pain the others who are not his usual customers by begging for business. However, others are welcome to give him their clothes if they want to.

He then takes the collected clothes to their mobile ironing board, which is nothing but the flat push cart that is used by street hawkers and vendors. A couple of huge and heavy iron boxes heated with coal accompany the board. They fill the heated coal from the top of the iron box. The heaviness of the iron box makes all the difference in the result of the finished product.

The 'iron-man' and his wife do a fantastic job of ironing. The boy delivers the ironed clothes - nice and very crip, ready for use.

Those familiar with this service will know or recollect from memory the distinct smell of these ironed clothes. I guess the unique smell is from the old iron box, the coal, the backing cloth that is used on the ironing-board etc. I have come to associate this smell with crispness!

It costs Rs. 2.5/- (about 5 cents!) for a piece in this area. A piece can be a shirt, trouser, dress, etc. Sarees cost Rs. 6/- or more. Now, these prices may vary depending on the area. In apartment buildings, there is usually an 'iron-man' in the basement parking lot. And mostly he is there everyday of the week at your service.

My husband is actually in the heaven of ironed clothes now. :)


Anonymous said... why didn't I ever think of dedicating a post on this topic/people on MB?? Just kidding. Lovely writeup. :)

Unknown said...

Hey Chits - Terms like 'family run', 'area under jurisdiction' or 'dont infringe' makes me coin the phrase iron mafia :-)
The Ironer, Ironess and Ironlet that iron our clothes here ensure they drive any other intruders from the same clan ! Monarch of all - he irons !!
As you rightly said - they do a wonderful job.

Chitra said...

Ravi, Thanks! You must have missed them enough to think of them. :) My husband spoke so much about them when he missed their service that there was no way I could go without writing about them. :)

Nelli, 'iron mafia'. LOL I never got that feeling about them, no wonder it never occured to me inspite of the lingo! :) They are such nice, gentle people!

Usha said...

Oh yes, we get spoilt by all these services available at our door step - This is one of the many reasons that my husband has refused to even think of livng elsewhere!!
But he downside - usually there is a single family for an entire layout and when they go on holidays, you are so disabled!

Anonymous said...

Good write up on your post-move experiences. I tried moving back to India for good last year while I thought the kids were still young and will adjust to Indian environment - how wrong I was ! sigh !! Guess, it was already too late for them - came back after spending a whole year there trying my best to make them love India as much as I do :-(

Wishing you and your family all the best.

Anonymous said...

oops, forgot to mention - came here blog hopping :-)

(Afterthought - reading your blog made me think, may be I should write about my experiences too from how excited I was planning my move back to sad I was to leave parents and rest of family behind again and come back).

Chitra said...

Usha, that is true. Dependancies cause handicaps too.

NZ, welcome to my blog. I am so sorry you couldn't continue staying here. But, NZ is so beautiful, I am sure it must be a pleasure in itself living there. I would love to read your experiences as well. Pl let me know when you blog about your move. I did visit your blog. Good job there.

Anonymous said...

The last comment for this post has been made in December, but I am curious. Where can I read NZ's blog? I want to know. Please reply.
Same anon here

Anonymous said...

The iron-man uses charcoal and not coal.

Anonymous said...

This is from the same prev anonymous. I am yet to find something in your blog that I think is wrong or don't agree with. So I just made up the coal-charcoal thing. However, I still am right.

Chitra said...

Anon, welcome to my blog. You are probably right about the charcoal. I can't claim to be an expert myself. :)

Dilip Muralidaran said...

How can i forget this service. It was heaven for me in bangalore when i lived there in 2003 -04. Pressing clothes is not a tough job for me but hey, it saves me a good 2 hours which i can spend driving to my office in the traffic on bannerughatta road, 5 kms away from my house, cuz it took like 1 hour to drive that 5 km stretch.

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

It was a really nice write up
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