Lessons of Life during COVID 19:The Smartest Dishwasher by Dr.Shahswat Shere

The Smartest Dishwasher.
Dt.Shashvat Shere

(Emphasis added-Murthy)
It was the end of another day of lockdown. We had just finished our simple dinner and I was at the sink with a huge stack of dishes, pots and pans of all sorts of sizes and shapes. I opened the tap and the phone rang. It was a call from my sister in USA. She was worried about our condition in India. When she asked me what I was doing, I told her that I am washing dishes & utensils. My brother in law who was also listening to the conversation was amused. “Now you know how we do all this work ourselves in US. Of course, we have good Dishwashers you know, who don’t remain absent!”
I remembered our talk about the dishwasher when we had visited US. My brother in law who is always proud of the technological advances in US, was showing me their new Smart dishwasher.

” This dishwasher judges the number of dishes and uses the exact amount of soap and water for washing”, he said.
” We have a dishwasher which is smarter. It does all this plus it picks up used dishes, rinses them and wipes clean the washed dishes itself,” was my response.
” Oh, what’s the name of that Dishwasher?” he wanted to know.
“Jyoti, that’s the name of our house maid” and we had had a hearty laugh together.

Now with our smarter Dishwasher locked down in her own house, I am doing the job and believe me, it is an experience which has taught me a lot and made me the smartest dishwasher.

Before starting the work, I remove all other thoughts from my mind like “How many days will I have to continue doing this work?” “When is the Corona Pandemic going to end?” “Was it a chinese bioweapon?” ” Will my sister be safe in US?” ” Will I be able to keep my financial condition stable?” All these thoughts can wait. What I need to focus on is washing the dishes and utensils.
So I begin by having a bird’s eye-view of the job. What is the total volume of the work, how many big utensils and how many smaller, how many glasswares and how many of metal, how many soiled too much and how many cleaner etc. Once I gather all the information, I decide my plan of action.

Phase I of my plan is to rinse every object with water to clean it off all food particles etc. While the rinsing of each object is being done, I keep each one in a classified way. The oily and greasy pots at one place, all spoons and small bowls at one place, all steel plates at one place, all glass plates, bowls and glasses at one place. This completes phase I. Then I move to

Phase II.
Phase II has different sub sections. Depending on the number of objects in each of the above classified catagories, the place available around the sink or any other washing place and the availability of running water, I take each category one by one for phase II action. This is the major job, where I use a good scrubber with detergent liquid soap to clean the vessel thoroughly, watching every side and every corner carefully so that there is no stain of a burnt food stuck on it. With oily vessels I have to use more detergent to wipe out the greasy feel till it makes a squeaking sound while rubbing. After cleaning with soap is over for each category, I move to phase III.

In Phase III, if I have a good running water, the whole process of washing again with water becomes as enjoyable as having bath under a waterfall or if the sink is small, like a bathroom shower. After I finish this water park entertainment, I go on to Phase IV.

Phase IV starts with a soft cotton napkin in my hand. Now I enjoy wiping off each vessel or plate or glass to dry it. I get the fresh and clean feel on my hands and the squeaking sounds of the dry rub. I need to handle the glassware carefully like handling a baby, so that there is no accidental fall. I make sure that no drop of water remains which may stain the vessel or cause fungus to grow in the kitchen cupboard.

Phase V is the final phase when I keep all the objects in their proper places, so that they are easily accessible while cooking or when the guests have suddenly arrived for tea.

All these phases do not take a lot of time. Depending on the volume of work. It takes around 30-40 minutes. During this time, my whole focus is only on the washing job. I feel the different kinds of touches, different smells, look at the different shapes, colours, glitter etc., enjoy hearing the squeaking sound of clean vessel or glass and the cold splash of water. All these sensory foci take me away from all my anxieties and depression. I go into a meditative state of feeling calm and rejunuvated.

Thus, after this job is over, I am more relaxed, happy and refreshed.
The two important things I have learnt from this are:
1. If you do any work, litterally ANY work, with all your attention to it or ‘mindfully’ as it is popularly called these days, you do not get bored or tired, but feel fresh after it.
2. The vessels need more cleaning from inside than from outside and the same goes for our mind. We need to clean our mind from inside more than just the outward behaviour visible to people.
Now, don’t you think you too can become the smartest Dishwasher?

Dr. Shashvat Shere. Psychiatrist, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.

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