Friday, August 7, 2009

Of Washing Machines and fried Vadams!



A few weeks back, one of the pillars of our domestic system, our ever reliable, overloaded washing machine almost cranked out. With water leaking with every wash, what was thought to be a mere plumbing problem turned out to be a probable and untimely washing machine funeral (well almost)! The repair would have cost us some five thousand rupees and would have rewarded further anxiety with the steel drum damage looming large! We decided to replace it with a new machine. The old one was a front loader (FLM) that served untiringly during the last four years. Untiringly I say because with the birth of the little one, the machine had to endure nearly three washes a day! So if a normal FLM life was say eight to ten years (for a single wash load one in two days), our 5 kg punch packer decided to breathe its last in four. Now the question was, what next? The machine that we had was a standalone IFB brand and not the one that was manufactured by IFB, Bosch and Siemens in collaboration. The re-sale value was almost zero. The best bet in FLMs was the tried and tested Siemens However, its after sale service did not get great reviews. Also, it would cost us a whopping Rs. 28,000 (minimum) for a 7kg washer that we wanted to buy. So, the obvious choice was to try a top loading machine (TLM). I was used to TLMs, with a close to fifteen year experience with a Whirlpool machine to be precise. However, a four year stint with the tough, time consuming yet water, electricity and detergent saving front loader made me think more than twice. The dealers, reviews, relatives, scrap buyers and every one else suggested that since we are so used FLM, we go in for a Whirlpool machine which is the only TLM brand to have the agitator in the middle of the tub as well as an inbuilt heater which only FLMs normally have. I should say that we really did n't have a choice, as the high end, 7kg load, Whirlpool machine cost us only around Rupees 15,000 after exchange and discount.

Now why all this blah about washing machines and what is this all about vadams? Well, the husband has this habit of browsing for product details, brand details, price, models, specifications, pictures, reviews, sob-stories, criticisms, analogies, flow-charts, dealers, their phone numbers and more on the Internet. In addition to this he insists that we visit at least 15 dealers (from the smallest to the biggest), find out the various brands they deal in, the prices they offer and compare prices, discounts, gifts, lies...all of them! The poor wife and kid have to endure all of this seated in the pillion of his bike since there is the problem of car parking and difficulty in getting an auto or bus in the obscure places that he chooses. Believe me...the same ritual is conducted for every thing be it a punching machine or our current requirement - the washing machine!

Even as we were breaking our heads over the type of washing machine - now that the FLM was ruled out, it had to be between the agitator model and the 'pulsator' model- comparisons were made between the type of wash each gave. (Front loading was our personal favorite because of all the advantages I had mentioned earlier) Despite arguments, explanations and proofs the husband would n't relent. He wanted more information. He was not used to a TLM and wanted to know all the advantages and disadvantages and of course, the differences.

Now for the vadams- I normally use very little oil for cooking (the reasons for this would require many posts, if not a separate blog). When I fry appalams and vadams (which is a rarity in the household), I use much less oil than what is normal and use a butter knife and a long spatula to twist and turn and immerse and fry the poor appalam as it gets bigger in the oil. So there's the analogy, a FLM uses lesser water because of the tumble wash it provides. AAh Now that is the one big difference between TLMs and FLMs along with the blah blah I had mentioned earlier!!

So more than the washing machine itself, I was kicked with the analogy given by our resident Einstein. Having accepted the fact that, given the price and after sales service factors, a TLM was the only available choice, the husband was convinced and we were ready to welcome the new gadget home. So a Whirlpool White magic pro 700h it was.

Now that I am done with husbands (in the post!) and vadams, here is how the little one reacted. As soon as the new machine came home, V, who had visited the show rooms with us and had had a look at all the appliances, squeaked .. "ammmmaaa.... puuthhuuu waaacthiinngg matchinne" (Amma new washing machine)! He repeated that all through the day, blabbered in his sleep and the first thing he would say on getting up in the morning was "puuthhuuu waaacthiinngg matchinne".

Then came the most difficult part. No, it was n't the setting up or getting to know the new machine. Nor was it about the washing quality or the soap consumed. V, who had to just peep into the FLM to have a look at how it functioned, now insists that we carry him and show how the "puuthhuuu waaacthiinngg matchinne" does drrrrrrr and drrrrr. So now, in addition to putting him to sleep, waking him up, cuddling him once he is awake, brushing his teeth, giving him a bath, running behind to give food, playing, jumping, reading , singing rhymes and everything else... when he says "waaacthiinngg matchinne drr drrr pakkanu (to see)" I, alright, We, have to lift him up and show!

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