Pressing economic problem
By A. C. Tuli
When, on my way to office in the morning, I pass by his poky little room, I find that Harish Chander, the presswala of our street, is already briskly going about his job of ironing the clothes of his clients. The clothes he has already ironed are kept neatly stacked on a side-table, and the clothes that are still to go under his charcoal-heated iron lie there in a big heap on a string cot.
In a corner of the same room, Harish Chander’s wife Bhagmati is busy cooking their meal on a kerosene stove (they don’t have a gas connection), while their year-old son Munna is playing with some toy or just crawling around on all fours. Munna, a weak anaemic child, has not yet learnt to walk.
“On my way to office”
In the evening when I return home and again pass by his room, I notice a slight change in the scenario. While the slim and wiry Harish Chander is still passing his heavy iron over shirts, trousers and sheets, Bhagmati’s absence from the room clearly means that she is out on her round to home-deliver the ironed clothes of their regular clients. Munna,
I observe, is asleep on a small cot in the room.
I reach home tired after a hectic day, wash, change, take tea, and then stretch myself out on the dewan.
I do not know when I doze off. When I wake up it is already becoming dark outside. My wife suddenly remembers that she has run out of her stock of some items of groceries. So, slipping on my chappals and snatching a shopping bag from a peg in the room, I come out of my house to go to the market.