I hear this every morning around 7:30-8:00 am when I’m in the bathroom taking a shower--or reading the newspaper, if you know what I mean. It’s the sound of one of the women next door doing laundry.
As you see from the pictures above, all you need is a ready supply of water, some soap, and any kind of flattish rock or stone slab. The process requires the repeated smacking of the cloth against a hard place. The lady is doing her washing on the banks of the river that runs by the temple of Sri Kalahastri. The gentleman is the dhobi who does my laundry, so those are my duds that are being beaten to death.
It’s fun to watch. The sight and sound conjure up timeless images of a simpler lifestyle, before we industrialized ourselves into our present ecologically precarious state.
Don’t get me wrong. Doing laundry this old-fashioned way is hard work, so I’m all for washing machines. It’s just that, with 6+ billion people on the planet and rising, the human impact is going to be devastating if everyone has a washing machine—and a house with a TV or two, and a car or two, and a microwave, and a telephone-computer, and a water supply and electricity, and a fancy wardrobe, and so forth.
Right now, it’s the small minority of people on the planet who enjoy such earth-depleting “luxuries.” What on earth are we going to do when all the Chinese and all the Indians have enough money to join the club?
Population isn’t going to decrease any time soon. Conservative estimates put world population kind of peaking at from 10 billion to 12 billion by the end of this century. The desire for the good things in life is what makes humans get up in the morning. With globalization, more and more people are joining the ranks of the reasonably well off.
Really. Whatever are we going to do when the planet’s overrun and everyone wants a piece of what’s left?
One of the reasons I so hope there’s a life after death--somewhere comfortable where I can sit in an armchair sipping a G&T—is because I want to watch and see how things pan out.
It’ll be very, very interesting indeed.