Sunday, 3 October 2010



The inescapable odor of fabric softener, mingled with baked B.O. and mildew greets you at the door. Couples perform the same ritual every week, loading, unloading, folding, softly discussing bills, family business. An old man squints to read the partially rubbed off instructions on one of the machines. He looks up for the attendant, a mental wave for help. She is cleaning the floor. She sighs and sharply shoves his quarters into the machine. The machine switches on and the clothes swirl and foam. On the other side, the rhythm of clicks and soft thunks as the clothes dry soothe the baby in his bouncey seat on the folding table, while his mother's hands smoothe the fabric of his father's old work shirt. Toyless on the grey tiled floors, children shriek, scamper, laugh and play.

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