The Dishwasher Chronicles – Part 1

Our dishwasher was an old one. I suppose it did its job, but its noise was inversely proportional to its efficiency. Speaking of noise and efficiency, I remember a maid we had once who treated the dishes with the same crashing nonchalance. There too, the noise and cleanliness were inversely proportional. The lady was a force to reckon with and neither the vessels nor the people stood up against her. She once scared the bejesus out of my sleeping brother causing him to leap like a salmon from the floor to the couch in an elegant upward arch at 6 o’clock in the morning. ( My father, a brave man, once mustered up the courage to tell her he could hear the dishes crashing even without his hearing aid. I gave him a bracing cup of coffee afterward and told him how proud I was to be his daughter and all that, but I don’t think it affected her or the dishes in any way.

On a related note, when you plot the state of wakefulness in the household, there are a bunch of continuous sinusoidal waves like this:

sinusoidal sleep waves
sinusoidal sleep waves

So, I suppose when you interlace them together, you get a pretty good picture. Between visiting maternal and paternal grandparents, 2 children (1 toddler), Molly & Sally the fishes, the husband and I, the state of wakefulness in the house in a somewhat hazy positive at all points in time. To further elucidate, If we were to have an owl as a pet, it would be hard put to find a time when it thinks it really is night. For there are late sleepers, early risers. And just to make things interesting, there are folks who sleep early, then get up at midnight and stay up for a few hours. I am telling you, we house all varieties of sleep monsters.

I know you think I am driveling (dishwashers, maids, sinusoidal waves, owls: what next?), but bear with me for a moment. Let’s back track to the d.washer model. The problem with the poor thing was that it did not have the option to let us program the time at which it was welcome to start crashing the dishes. The dishwasher was so loud, if we actually had a couple of bulls stampeding into the china cabinet looking for a cup of tea or some bears trying to nip food from the kitchen, they could have done so under the cloak of secrecy hiding well behind the dishwasher’s sounds. The dishwasher running in the kitchen meant that nobody could hope to get a word in to each other in terms of conversation and all thoughts of enjoying a quiet television show was out the window too. Basically, the only way one could get quiet time downstairs was to camp out in the backyard with the kitchen door firmly closed, but that can be hard when one is also looking to keep warm and comfortable. All in all, a hard spot, you’d agree.

So, then I hit upon the best solution available: I would load the dishwasher and make a general announcement that the last person to come upstairs must switch it on. Every person who went upstairs afterwards, scoured the area and passed the baton to the people remaining downstairs. Usually, that worked pretty well, unless the last person (no points for guessing the most frequent offender)  forgot to switch it on. Worse still, there were times when I would switch it on as I was the last to leave and still find the dishwasher hadn’t finished its job because the husband would have popped out of bed after that to get milk for the baby, and switched it off.


Every time something like this happened, there was mayhem the next day. Remember I told you it wasn’t a very efficient one? So, I’d wash the dishes almost clean before putting them in the dishwasher. I will not do them perfectly clean, because the dishwasher has to work no? As I write this, I realize I have been a priceless ass and that I could have just washed them all myself and be done with it. But I don’t get to write this blog if I was efficient like that. Anyway, the point is that, whether or not the dishwasher ran, the dishes looked pretty clean.

But the dishwasher being an old model was also primitive in it’s operations. There was a large dial on the control panel that slid all the way to ‘Off’ as the dishwasher worked its way through. If the dial was halfway through, you were warned it was not done properly. Then, you sounded like a hurt werewolf on full moon night, evacuated the residents out of the kitchen and switched on the dishwasher. If you got no talking done during the entire hour that it crashed about, that is punishment enough to make one remember to switch it on at night what? We had a few interesting moments when it was revealed the son as a baby had learnt how to rotate the switch and we had therefore let the dishwasher rewash dishes unnecessarily on a number of occasions.

After a series of these punishing days, we were goaded beyond tolerance. We complained sorely for a few years. And then, with the speed that it takes for lightning bolts to strike (just a few weeks), we went in for a new dishwasher.

The daughter and son said their goodbyes to the d.washer in a touching manner.

I shall continue the new dishwasher chronicles in my next blog. I suppose I don’t very much like the idea of leaving the readers hanging from the cliff like this: do the dishes get washed in her household or not?Hang Tight folks. Hang Tight.

7 thoughts on “The Dishwasher Chronicles – Part 1”

  1. One note on the servants: We had a servant for along time called “Kullamma” it was not her name but she was short so everyone call her like that and she gracefully accepts that because her original name was “Chennaponni” :). The kind of dominance she use to have on us is remarkable. She can even beat us if we cross her when she was washing the vessels. I cant imagine anything near to that in current day. Having said that, she was like my second mother very caring equally

    1. Kullamma’s stature is gargantuan in my mind. I have heard so many stories about her. Every time somebody tries to sweep in the house, Kullamma flies to Bay Area and her spirit lingers ticking off those who are careless with the dirt. Of course, her crowning achievement seems to be fact that she was the only one capable of taking you to school 🙂

      We had very interesting maids too – maybe I shall write about them one day.

  2. LOL …. I do remember that dishwasher! Ur son climbed into it a few times when I opened it the last time I came!! Once he loaded his teddy with the pots . But it was quite well behaved then. Been a long time since I visited – good reminder !

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