This is the land where the Gods reign.
Everywhere the cities have been given new names by the government. Bombay is now called Mumbay - after the divinity Mumba Davi.
Mumba Davi was the protector Goddess of a village that doesn’t exist anymore. She was the protector Goddess of fishermen too, but in Bombay there haven’t been any fishermen around for a long time either.
But that doesn’t bother anyone. Unperturbed the old Gods return – just as if nothing had happened.
It is said that there are more Gods in India than people, good Gods and evil Gods - and that things are the same in their world as in our world.
Some people claim that one can recognise the Gods because their flower-wreaths never wither and their feet never quite meet the ground. And their clothes never become dirty.
The washing of clothes is considered as particularly unclean work. Washers are ranked on the same level as toilet-cleaners, street-sweepers, abattoir workers and undertakers. Such people are not allowed to step on the holy ground of the Gods’ temples. They are impure.
Bombay Laundrey Mahalaxmi
Bombays’ largest laundry is in Mahalaxmi. This is a part of the city named after the Goddess Laxmi. Laxmi is the Goddess of wealth and happiness.
As I am about to enter the yard, someone called Sayed introduces himself to me. Sayed wants to accompany me - so that there are no problems.
If any complaint goes to the police station they will ask you first, because you are white people. If any complaint on you it is very difficult for us.
When God Brahma created the primal creature, the leaders originate from the head, the warriors from the arms, the peasants and tradesmen from the hips. From the feet came the day-labourers, the tenant-farmers and craftsmen and the servants.
For thousands of years India’s feet have been the Schudras, the untouchables. Somehow I expected that you could recognise them. That you could see at a glance he's an untouchable. But it is only a name. Ghandi gave them another name "Children of God“. Children of a God whose temple they dare not enter.
All these people are coming from South India - Kerala, Karnataka.
They are hard workers
Everybody has got their own customers, from the hotels, from the railways and from the hospitals See like this:
They are bringing on their own. This man is bringing on the handcart from Grant Road, Churchgate etc. They are walking through all the places. They are bringing on their own and if the cloth is lost, they have to pay from their pocket.
Sayed explains to me that a launderer runs his business like an independent businessman.
They are fine he says. They have every chance. He doesn’t mention that someone born as a washer remains a washer for the rest of his life.
But why should he. The sun is the sun and a pot is a pot. Why should he explain such obvious things to me.
Instead, he shows me the laundry’s tea-kitchen. As in every hut there is a house altar. It is dedicated to Caibaba.
Caibaba is beloved in the laundry. Caibaba is beloved in all of Bombay. Caibaba taught the people that it is good to strive for wealth. Even if someone is only a washer, he's allowed to try to be rich - says Caibaba
For one shirt they are taking 2/- Rupees.with the washing and ironing. 4 Rupees. They are paying Rs.500/- for a place they have got the facility of water for this
From 6.00 a.m. in the morning they start // their work till night is going on and from 7.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. they stop the work
Continue with chapter 2