...is one of the most physically and mentally challenging tasks. First, the clothes accumulate, thanks to the kid running to the water and the parents running behind and all three getting wet, or to the fact that the amma ignores the unpredictable weather and leaves the umbrella behind, or to the previous days clothes that smell and feel wet like they are just out of the washing machine. Then, all of a sudden one realizes that the open space available is big enough to dry a few handkerchiefs and piles all the clothes into a bucket and carries them to the terrace on the fourth floor.
Living on the first floor despite the presence of an elevator does n't help as one still has to climb a flight of stairs, some of the steps of which are slippery thanks to the overflowing or dripping water from the terrace. After that one has to constantly look at the sky, put the clothes on the line, squint at the clouds to check if the black ones are really floating towards the said terrace or if it is only an illusion. Just as one finishes putting all the clothes on the line and comes down, again gingerly stepping on the steps, the black clouds close in and it has suddenly become dark. At this, one dashes out to the terrace again, this time with the kid coming along since he had found out that he was left behind the previous time.
One checks the clothes and tells herself that the clothes seemed to have become a little dry and carries the heavy bucket and the crying kid, huffs and puffs all the way down only to find that it is indeed drizzling outside. After a small pat on the shoulder to self, one begins to dry the clothes in the balcony and irons the half dried ones. Just then the sun comes out all scorching and one puts one's big foot in the mouth, removes all the clothes, takes them out to the terrace again, does a small jig at the sun and son, dries the clothes, comes down, and after the exhausting work, amma and child take a nap. Only to wake up and find that it is pouring outside. One looks out expressionlessly and goes back to sleep again.
It is another story that all the clothes were soggy and wet and dirty because the loose sand on the terrace had stuck to them, what with the wind blowing hard, and all the clothes had to be washed again, and the process of drying...repeated as above!