Thursday, May 26, 2011

Of Laundry and Optimization

To those of my personal friends who know me well, it's no secret that in life there is ONE thing that gives me the jitters and immense discomfort. I can handle the odd cockroach in my burger, the lizard scrambling over my dinning table, my foot landing right into dog poop etc. very easily (though I don't really look forward to these either); but one thing I distinctly dislike.. DISTINCTLY.. is doing my laundry by hand!!

I've done my fair share of this in life during school boarding days. But ask me to wash a handkerchief today.. and I would think of million reasons to not do it. During the CSC preparation calls, while people were busy voicing more practical concerns around food, stay, language, number-of-hangers-entitled-per-room, internet, wifi... I was just keen to understand the laundry arrangements. 

I checked with a good friend from the China 9 team and he reassured me that the local laundry would take care of everything though on payment. Hence it was a surprise to me when we were told by Lucy that undergarments and socks could not be given out to the third party and we had to make our own 'arrangements' (whatever that meant). 

I got the sweats and had visions of being haunched over a pile of used undergarments and scrubbing till my fingers whittled away and knew then and there what would be the most unpleasant memory (or memories, if I chose to do my laundry more than once!) of this entire stay. And my fears have been well founded. I HATE it... and there is no word in the English language that can adequately capture my sentiments. 

It's day 20 and there have been compromises made. The undershirt is no longer being worn as getting rid of just this has decreased the washing burden by close to 60%. The socks were being ignored for a bit and giving an additional benefit of 10%, but then not-so-subtle hints from my colleagues led to this scope being reintroduced. I'm toying with the idea of going commando and doing only the socks and handkerchiefs... i.e. reducing the burden by around 25% and hence total cumulative optimization of a staggering and impressive 85% but there are some practical issues in doing so. 

Let me elaborate. The practical issues do not relate to any perceived discomfort, but have more to do with the fact that I can't go commando incognito. Club Mukul Washroom  (of the Club Mukul fame!) is a fairly public area thanks to Club Mukul being so, and considering that most of my laundry is put out to dry over the shower cabinet, the boxers v/s briefs question is one that I'm never going to be asked. Any causal observer with more than 60 secs seat time in the washroom can well enough assess this through simple observation. More tenured sitters can further assess brands and segment me into the various globally recognized underwear segments that exist. 

A sudden absence of these garments is bound to be noticed instantly and the correct inference drawn right away. I'm not really up to getting weird stares from my colleagues especially since some of the stares may be directed southwards. 

It's crazy! No resolution possible...!! Hmmm..... what if I put out some fresh ones and make them appear to be drying and just keep on rotating my clothesline with new fresh ones every day so that even the really analytical observer cannot make out the difference? Hmm... that's a thought... that's really a good idea!!

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