Dry Cleaning in Kudla! It’s Not What You Think
Mangaluru: For me, dry cleaning has always belonged in a category of miracles, along with color-safe bleach, dry shampoo, and acupuncture. They seem to work, but is it only because we’d like to believe they do? Some of my clothing really need dry cleaning, and I always look for signs at laundry shops who do dry cleaning. But with all my experiences at bunch of these cleaners who advertise as ‘dry cleaners’, I have found a few of these businesses don’t even have dry cleaning machines. And due to this many of my good clothes which were suppose to be dry cleaned only had been ruined by these cleaners using regular wash.
United colors of garments seen on Airport Road. Pics by Rakshith Shetty
During the past few years I have switched to different cleaners after experiencing bad service from them. Forget about dry cleaning equipment, many of these laundries don’t even have clothes dryers, and so they hang their customers clothes in open grounds, walls, etc etc- and as a result dust will land on these clothes, especially when traffic ply by. One such example of clothes drying in public was brought our notice by one of our readers, Rakshith Shetty, who is employed with Antony Waste Handling Management, and also had clicked couple pictures of the scene.
And this spot where Shetty came across was on the road stretch very close to Mangalore International Airport, and speaking to Team Mangalorean he said, ” I don’t think so the clothes kept for drying on the wall belong to any residents living close by or of those of laborers working in construction site around there. Due to the variety of clothes, some of them expensive ones, this should be the work of nearby cleaners who are using public property to dry their customers clothing. This ugly scene of clothes put for drying near the international airport also gives a bad impression of the ‘Smart City’ for tourists who come to the city from out of town. Action should be taken against whosoever is doing this”.
I fully agree with Rakshith Shetty, and Team Mangalorean would like to thank him for highlighting the issue. Having doubts with one of the cleaners where I had given some of my clothes for dry cleaning, I made a surprise visit to their factory where all the cleaning work was done. To my surprise I didn’t see any dry cleaning equipment, and a bunch of men and women were hand washing the clothes, and some were using the washing stone. There was only one clothes drying machine, and most of the clothes were put for drying on a open ground nearby- and again to my surprise I found two pants and three shirts of mine among them. “Is this what you call dry cleaning?” I asked one of the cleaners employee, for which he was reluctant to give an proper answer.
United Colors of Under-garments Hung on Clothesline Takes Away the Apartment Grandeur
If you walk around the Mall or shop in the city you may come across “United Colors of Benetton” fashion shop- but on the other hand if you walk or drive around the city you may also come across a bunch of ” United Colors of garments/under-wears” hung on clothesline at some the posh apartments. But what the residents don’t understand is that while displaying their clothes on a clothesline for hours to dry- it takes away the beauty of the apartment.
The clothesline has been looked upon with disdain in the west (in North America and parts of Europe) for many years…until now. Whether its residential apartments or independent houses, municipalities have enforced rules which prohibit residents from displaying their laundry. Clotheslines which are visible from the road are considered infra-dig, low-brow and ugly! Upper class people look down on them. And so does the government. Penalties for breaking this ordinance can be expensive in the United States and in many well-to-do localities.
Just contrast this to India, and for that matter, Mangaluru, where clotheslines are few rupees a dozen…and not just in the slums. You can see them adorning apartment blocks as well as posh bungalows. Sure, some colonies do turn up their nose at those who hang out their laundry, but it’s a rare colony which lays down strict rules to disallow it. As for Indian municipalities, they have too much on their minds to bother about clotheslines. But lately, even in the West there is a strong movement to overturn bans on clotheslines and you’ve guessed it – that’s because clotheslines are environment friendly, and many want to do their bit for global warming and believe that dryers are a waste of energy.
There are many people these days who are rallying around what they call the “right to dry.” … Tumble dryers, like sport utility vehicles, are verging on an image problem: Once symbols of economic success, they have morphed into icons of environmental disregard. The gas guzzlers of household appliances, electric dryers use about as much energy as a refrigerator – consuming more than 6 percent of household energy – even though they are used only intermittently. Drying clothes in the sun can save up to 10-25 per cent of household energy consumption- that may be true, but when you are living in a posh apartment, where you have paid few lakhs or close to a crore, and now that you are trying to save a few bucks by hanging clothes openly to dry, that looks cheap, and also takes away the beauty of your living place.
No doubt, in India people, including the affluent do not use clothes-dryers, even if they do own them. Reasons aplenty for this: The hot weather helps dry clothes quickly; The household help does the job of hanging out the clothes; Nobody cares if you hang the laundry outside; There are no laws against hanging the laundry outside; and People cannot afford dryers, which can cost upwards of Rs 10000, (but they can afford buying expensive flats). So there are pros and cons on whether to use dryers or hung clothes in the sun. Experts have said that household emissions are a quarter of the total emissions in developed countries and therefore stopping the use of dryers will make a significant dent. That’s why I hope that India never graduates to dryers. And its not just to save energy. Dryers reduce the life of our clothes.
But I have noticed in some apartments lots of clothes are hung outside, and many a times a bunch of undergarments. Talking to one resident in one of a high-class apartment, who said to me, ” The people living above me hang clothes outside, and many a times some of their clothes land on our balcony. Many times I returned their clothes back, especially undergarments, and also requested them to use clips so that their clothes won’t fly off. All my requests have gone in vain, their clothes still land on our balcony. I suppose some residents are ignorant”. There are alternatives to hanging laundry outside if one thinks it looks ugly. One can get a pulley-operated clothes rack which can be slung up right to the ceiling after it’s loaded with clothes. These are much cheaper than dryer and a far better alternative to a dryer.
In conclusion, if people have money to buy posh apartments, why can’t they buy clothes dryer to dry their clothes, rather than hang them on the clothesline outside and kill the beauty of the building. Residents living in apartments should come up with some other alternatives to dry their clothes, instead of making enemies with their neighbours who do not not like the concept of hanging clothes outside on the balcony.