Monday, February 1, 2010

Cleaning Bras

It’s so annoying to know that school days are fun. Annoying, because my 1GB human memory hasn’t archived experiences from so long back. I try to tell myself that it’s good to travel light. But having forgotten your camera, and toothbrush, and medicines and slippers is not really “travelling light”. It’s like taking off in your thongs!

If it wasn’t for those school photographs that my mother preserved…where the whole class sat with the class teacher, in neat rows (in ascending order of height) I would have thought that I was born married. But apparently not.

These days, I get some more proof. I get flashes of those ancient days (surprisingly, they are not in black and white). Suddenly, on a lonely afternoon, I laugh out loud. I stumble upon a funny tale from those apparently fun days of pigtails and acne and heartaches and calculus and rolled-down socks and Maggie in lunch boxes and, God bless us, Home Science classes.

I am not sure why I took Home Science as my additional subject (I think Accounts was the only other option and I never really liked anyone or anything that asked me “where the money was spent”). Anyway, before making this life-changing decision (NOT) of selecting my additional subject, I spoke to a few seniors who had been there and done that. Just to get a view of what I was getting myself into.

Me: So what is it that you do in Home Science?
Senior: Oh, nothing much. We knit tea-cosies, lay dinner tables, bake muffins and clean bras.
Me (shocked): Clean bras!! Yuck. Whose bras?
Senior: Mostly Ms Sabarwal’s bras. But sometimes other teachers lend theirs too, if they are exceptionally dirty.
Me: Yuck Yuck! How can someone make you clean their bras? It’s so…yuck!
Senior: Well, I know. But we have no choice really. If we refuse, they will fail us.
Me: Am shocked and insulted! Knitting tea-cosies is stupid and archaic (who uses tea-cosies these days, anyway?)…but cleaning bras is outright degrading.
Senior: Yeah, but we are at their mercy.
Me: So you clean them with …err…your hands, and detergent?
Senior: Oh no no! That’s the first thing they will teach you. Detergent is not good for brass at all. We use Brasso.

(That’s when I first learned the importance of every “s” … and that detergent was indeed very bad for any metallic object at home, including those made of brass).