Thoughts about cleaning, running and life

Devdas Kamath is a school buddy who lives in Chennai with his family, He just made my Diwali 2013 when he posted his blog post via Facebook. These kids are inspirational and even we adults can learn about taking a stand without being a revoloutionary. HAPPY DIWALI ALL !

“How much will we be spending on fireworks this Diwali?” my 12 years old son asked me one evening. “Last year, we got all that you wanted for about Rs. 1000. I suppose we’ll spend about Rs. 1,500 this year since prices would have increased, plus there will be some new fancy stuff that you guys will want. Anyway, why are you asking this now? Diwali’s over a month away,” I replied. Read the Complete Blog Post here

I witnessed the astonishing generosity of one of my clients this morning at my store. Let’s call him Mark. I have known Mark as a young school boy who has grown into a fine young man.

Mark was visiting my store to collect his leather “Clarks” shoes, similar to the shoes pictured (cost approx.  Rs 7,000). He was paying his bill when a worker of another client entered the store and was surprised to learn that we cleaned leather shoes. He seemed to really like the shoes and removed them from the packaging with the permission of Mark who asked him if he liked the shoes. When the boy answered in the affirmative, Mark asked him to try the shoes which seemed to fit the boy perfectly and when he saw this he simply told the boy to keep the shoes. The boys jaw dropped and he just could not believe the generosity of Mark.

This young kid just made my Christmas.

Come January 2013, one of Bandra's iconic cleaners "Bambi" will have closed down permanently. Started over 50 years ago by Mr Pinto, "Bambi" was among the first cleaners along with the now closed Eclipse cleaners (Mr. Fitter) that opend shop in Bandra in the 1950’s.

Bambi was previously located on Hill Road near the famous Bata showroom (also closed now). In the recent past, Bambi’s move further down Hill Road near Bandra Police Station. In any business location is key and it seems the new location did not work. This along with the severe competition in the form of foreign chains with deep pockets that have entered the Indian market may have led to the demise of this iconic cleaner.

I think there is a lesson for all old business, change with times or perish. Ultimately the customer is king and old business have to change to keep this focus.

As we approach Diwali 2012 we are already seeing the start of preparations for our festival season in India. The newspapers are filled with offers for various consumer durables and vehicles.

We are already seeing our clients sending in drapes/curtains for Dry cleaning and Wetcleaning in preparation for Diwali. While wetcleaning offers superior cleaning performance some drapes/curtains have to be Dry cleaned to avoid shrinkage and/or color loss. This is especially true for roll-up curtains that are an exact fit for the window. We are now seeing many more drapes/curtains that are rubber lined. Rubber lined drapes serve as insulation in extreme weather conditions, they were meant to keep the cold out and retain the heat in a heated room during harsh winters. However their utility in Indian weather conditions is debatable.

I have never associated jaggery with cleaning till I heard about cleaning silk sarees with jaggery this morning.  Is it an old Indian trick or hogwash let's see. I have never tried it and will post back when I study the chemistry of jaggery.


I was really looking forward to Sesquicenternary road race on 30-Sept 2012. I have been road running for many years and really enjoy the solitude that Bandra's empty streets offer at 5.30am. This was the first time I would actually run a race, even if an ex-students race. A brisk walk to the school background served as a warm up before the run. I was greeted with the background filled with kids from schools around Bandra of all shapes and sizes. There were the barefoot runners from St. Catherine's Home, Cardinal Gracias and Mahatma Gandhi Vidyamandir Bandra East to the well kitted boys and girls from the local schools.