How to Wash Clothes: A Manual

Ye aag laganay walay kaun hain, woh unkay kapdon se hi pata chal jaata hai”
– Prime Minister Narendra Modi

‘Jamia Students Protest ‘Bare-Bodied’, Demand Action Against Police’
– A recent headline by The Quint

The Manual

Step 1: Select the filth. Select the detergent.

From the pile of population,
pick up the ones that feel like wool –
soft without, ablaze within
a cloth – tender, willing to learn,
stained with identity.
And then, turn to your TeleVision
and your curated modes of lies
uniformed advertisements
selling your detergents –
Delhi police,
Karay Dhulai on caprice.

Gentle cloth – under siege of force.

Step 2: Wash dark and light clothes separately.

But what now to touch,
when your cloth still isn’t swachh?

Step 3: Soak and scrub violently.

With fingers made of stick like force,
pick up from the ground a designated stone
and wherever you see
a glimpse of that marked cloth
With fingers
With bullets
With bombs
and wait
for the ziddi daag of identity
to noisily choke
under the breath of libraries, footpaths and closed bathroom doors.

Can you assault a cloth?

Step 4: Hang them out to dry.

But what now to touch,
when your cloth still isn’t swacch?

On the clothes line of your house
look for the bodies,
living or dead
stripped of their garments
the ghost of an identity –
hung by its neck.

You have blood on your hands.

Muskan Nagpal is a keen observer. While most people pass their time by going to the zoo or jungle safaris to watch animals, she just takes the Delhi Metro.

Featured image credit: Unsplash