Tuesday, Aug 22nd

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Five things used in India forgotten in USA:

Neel: Rings a bell? The blue powder that mom used to put in water and rinse white clothes in...I wonder why? What was the purpose? In fact I distinctly remember her getting mad at the dhobi that the white shirt got blue stains due to neel. People even put it in white paint when whitewashing their houses in Diwali. I am not sure if it is still around...later a good brand came out with a very catchy campaign which claimed to keep clothes white and made much more sense than that lumpy blue powder.

Maadh/Starch: Have never starched a single piece of cloth in my last 10 years in USA. But I remember getting upset at my dhoban if my school uniform dupatta wasn't starched right. Is it because our American attire just doesn't need starch? I am not complaining :) Usually boiled rice water or sabudana water is used for starch in India. USA does have starching product available in grocery stores.

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Using a rag to clean : Don't know if using that same old rag every day to clean, made the floor/counter tops cleaner or actually more dirty..and God I hated that phenol smelling water to disinfect. And to think that hands were used to actually hold and mop floors using that rag...yuck! I prefer the Swiffer Mops here better. But when you don't know any better...you just don't know, right?

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Handkerchiefs: When I landed in USA and went out with my cousins the first day, I had a hanky with me. My cousin asked me "why was I carrying a rag around"? and I had no clue he was referring to my dearest brand new hanky. Well, we don't use them here at all though it was a regular part of my outings in India. Hanky set was a perfect birthday gift growing up.

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Home made bags/jhola: In her spare time, I often found my mom making cloth bags out of worn out pillow covers, Sheets etc. They used to be durable and good looking, bio friendly and would cost nothing. My dad or household helper would take these bags from home to the market and get vegetables and other stuff in it. And then plastic was invented and everything changed. In India or USA, it is all plastic bags or more recently the expensive recycled bags that are bio-friendly and cost an arm and a leg as compared to those home made bags. I miss those jholas as we called them in Hindi.
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Five things used in India forgotten in USA: