Yes, it is that time of the year again where good housewives all over the country throw their backs out scrubbing and washing and cleaning and ensuring every forlorn dustballed neglected corner of their homes sparkle from spit polish scrubbing and cleaning. Yours truly included. Actually, yours truly is not so much a fan of throwing her back out, but since the mater is borderline OCD on this, she has no choice but to fall in line. Therefore most days running upto Diwali, at any point you ring the bell of the Manral house in the morning or evening, you are bound to find either the mater clambered onto a ladder yelling at all the assorted minions underfoot to hand her duster, soap, broom or whatever essential is requisite to ensure that every speck of imaginary dirt gets chased into the netherworld where dirt chased out by millions of homes doing their Diwali cleaning gets sucked into. Ever read Jerome K Jerome’s Uncle Podger Hangs a Picture? Do so, and you will get my drift.
I imagine an entire cosmos being created of the dirt and junk cleared from homes in the pre Diwali clean up frenzy, somewhere in this nebulous world unwanted lid less jars are mating with single socks to spawn horrific blasphemies which will come back to take over our planet and tie us all up in lycra and stuff us into monster exhibit jars. Arrrrgggghhh.
I hate Diwali cleaning with a passion that only rivals being starved and being forced to wear uncoordinated clothes with totally unsuitable shoes, and not being allowed to put lipstick on. Have I mentioned how the lips look cadaverous without a smidgeon of artificial colouring? I hate any cleaning that requires me to throw buckets of soapy water on floors, risk slipping frantically and landing in undignified star fish belly flop in said soapy water, and then finally at the end of it all find that the damn floors arent look any cleaner than they looked when you started approximately 3 hours and ten kilos heavier before. Which brings me to the moot point of why I participate in the cleaning madness, apart from the mandatory reason of being a good little hausfrau. (Well, nor am I good, nor am I little, but lets keep that our secret, shall we?). The exercise. The exercise. And the sheer exhaustion post the cleaning. Which has every bone in your body beg for forgiveness and promise to show through the skin, rather than be complacent and hide beneath layers of fat and cellulite.
And then there is a positive fallout of Diwali cleaning I am told. Getting rid of the clutter. I am manic about clearing clutter. The mother is equally manic about hoarding. Through the year she has her way. During Diwali cleaning I get mine. Assorted appliance parts which have long been divorced from the rest of the appliance they came as attachments to, old rolls of wires, dented plates and bits and pieces of things not immediately useful but with the potential to be of use in the future. Maybe when we settle in colonies on the moon.
It is interesting how Diwali cleaning has religious sanction which makes it mandatory for a family to clean their house inside out in order to attract, Laxmi, the Goddess of Weath. My house is spit polish clean most days, and Laxmi is a reluctant visitor, even so. None the less, we continue the ritual of cleaning out every corner in the hope that perhaps this might turn out to be Lami’s favoured corner and she just might decide to take up residence there from the many houses all over the country she must visit on Diwali day. We could do with Laxmi taking up long term residency in the Manral house for sure. Its been a bad year Laxmi wise. A bad couple of years.
Our Diwali cleaning normally revolves around the kitchen and the lofts and the balconies. Areas which get sorely neglected in the course of the year. The upper reaches of the kitchen shelves stocked with more utensils in steel that could serve a baraat, sees all them utensils brought down, scrubbed, wipes and stacked right back up to moulder in zen contemplation about the purpose of their lives until theyre disturbed again and rudely dragged down next Diwali. The balconies see some hot action which includes throwing buckets of water at the walls, balancing on step ladders in precariously risky angles, risking life and limb to get at cobwebs where little spiders are going ‘nyah nyah nyah nyah’ at us. Inevitably a couple of falls from ladder do occur leading to much loud cussing and yelling at the brat to not get underfoot even though he might be in the next room peaceful chewing on his Kurkure and watching television and totally unperturbed about his mother yelling at him for things he is not responsible for. (Yes, yes, anything to keep him in one place, and this is not the blog to discuss parenting issues). The walls will be scrubbed. This tones biceps and triceps. And is therefore highly recommended, I can already see perceptible loss of jiggle batwing arms in the one week I’ve been upto Diwali cleaning for a couple of hours everyday. The climbing up and down is good for the calf muscles. The clearing of clutter and junk from the house allows you to be charitable and donate the useful stuff to folks who might need it (do this, dont just throw out stuff into skips or to the kachrawalla),and allows you the space to generate a whole load of new clutter in time for next Diwali so you can do the entire thing once over and continue feeling immensely chuffed with yourself for your philanthropy. And what’s more, it gets you a sparkly clean house you can happily have people over and not cringe when they run a caustic eye over the dustballs playing catch in corners.
And then, come Diwali, you light up the house with all the lights you can lay your hands on. Bring the diyas out, draw rangolis at the door and Laxmi’s feet running into every room of your home, and right to where the safe in the house is, in optimistic hope that she decides to follow the directions laid out for her. And change the soft furnishings. And see your house sparkle and shine and look so very beautiful. And you will feel your heart swell up with pride and you will immediately resolve to keep it sparkling clean with a monthly clean up involving buckets of soapy water, brooms and step ladders. A resolution you will keep the following month and then promptly break. Until next Diwali. Rinse, repeat.
And yes, you can do some blog cleaning too for Diwali. Like this blogger did. What are your Diwali plans?