"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

washing

Stumbling Into Light: Part 6

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Cloistered laundering.

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Pictures of monks’ freshly laundered, saffron habits taken in Kurisumala Trappist Monastery, Kerala


Visions Of Gold

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 Picture taken in Palace Road, Fort Cochin


Maundy Matters

Alter-boys precede some of the twelve young men who wait to have their feet washed.
(Picture taken in Holy Cross Basilica, Fort Cochin)
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Kerala Maundy bread, made from unleavened rice-flour flavoured with onion, garlic and salt. Before eating, it is dipped in a bowl of sweet coconut milk and jaggery sauce.
This represents the bitter-sweet nature of Maundy Thursday.
The small cross is fashioned from a Palm Sunday leaf.

Dalila came with Shaji and their sons, Fabian and Stefan, to deliver the bread she had baked for me, late on Maundy Thursday.
Anu and Stefan, can just be glimpsed in the background.
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 maundy [ˈmɔːndɪ]
n pl maundies
(Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity the ceremonial washing of the feet of poor persons in commemoration of Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet (John 13:4-34) re-enacted in some churches on Maundy Thursday
[from Old French mandé something commanded, from Latin mandatum commandment, from the words of Christ: Mandātum novum dō vōbīs A new commandment give I unto you]

(From Collins English Dictionary)


Colour-Fast

The laundry-boy in our Mysore hotel,  hangs washing on the roof.


Yellow Fever

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Etymology and definitions*

The word “yellow” comes from the Old English geolu, or geolwe which derived from the Proto-Germanic word gelwaz. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the oldest known use of this word in English is from The Epinal Glossary in the year 700.

In the English language, yellow has traditionally been associated with jaundice and cowardice. Yellow is associated with the word “caution” and is the second light on stop lights. The color is associated with aging as well, for both people and objects (e.g. “yellowed” paper). Ethnographically, the term “yellow” has been used as a slang term for both Asians (“yellow peril”) and, in the early 20th century, light-skinned African-Americans (High yellow).

“Yellow” (“giallo”), in Italy, refers to crime stories, both fictional and real. This association began in about 1930, when the first series of crime novels published in Italy had yellow covers. The term “yellow movie” can refer to films of pornographic nature in Chinese culture, and is analogous to the English “blue movie”. Lastly, it is associated with sensational journalistic practices, or yellow journalism, and resistance to militant trade unions.

*Taken from Wikipedia

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Picture shows Anu’s laundry, drying in the yard.


A River Runs Through It

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”

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Hampi sits alongside a river used for ritual bathing

And the washing of sacred artefacts.

The expression of a very human desire:

Release from the taint of corruption.

An aspiration which transcends all religious traditions.

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The Journey Is The Destination: Part 10

Entranced by colour.

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“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.”

Emily Bronte

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Picture of saris drying in one of the Hampi temples, Karnataka.


Taking The Waters

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While culture and traditions vary immensely, a sense of personal failure and having fallen short of the mark seems integral to us all.

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From Christian Baptism through to Jewish, Islāmic and Hindu purifications, the desire for some sort of redemption from our follies is often expressed by the symbolic act of washing.

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In India, beside almost every temple is a small reservoir or tank.

Often, before offering puja, the faithful will bathe in these waters.

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On Sunday we visited the Suchindram Temple, just across the state border in Tamil Nadu.

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Strolling around the temple tank,

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We watched the bathing and laundering,

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The houses and people,

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And made the most of the facilities.

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“Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.”

Psalm 51.7

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“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” *

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*The origin of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, a common proverb, dates as far back as ancient Hebrew writings and possibly longer.

‘While some attribute to the Bible, it’s actually not found there. The known English appearance of the proverb is from the writings of Sir Francis Bacon in 1605. In his ‘Advancement of Learning’ Bacon wrote, “Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.” Roughly 200 years later, John Wesley used the words we are now familiar with, “Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness” ‘

From:  reference.com


Dhobi Days..

My dhobi visits unannounced, about twice a week. This always entails a short but tightly scripted ritual.

The dhobi returns a pile of newly washed, ironed and neatly folded clothes and linen, which he places on an armchair.

A basket containing my dirty washing is fetched from beneath my bed by Anu, my house-boy, who makes a quick dash around the house, collecting any other out-lying towels, sheets and linen.

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All of my dirty laundry is brought down to the hall. It is then publicly shaken out and counted in front of Shaji and Dalila (the husband and wife, cooking and house-keeping team, who look after me), Anu and myself, before being packed away in a large cloth.

Having been informed how much I owe, I pass the money to Shaji.

He, in turn, solemnly pays the dhobi, who bicycles away with my dirty washing.

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Following the dhobi’s departure, my house staff respectfully retire to the kitchen, allowing “Sir” to discretely remove his now pristine underwear from the pile. Only then, can they put away the bed linen, towels – and the rest of my clothing.

Modesty and decorum, of sorts, have been preserved.

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