In these days of qualified lady mechanical engineers, there is nothing great about my becoming the handyman in the house in the permanent absence of ‘the man’, the master handyman.

Here is the story:

Well, it began as a normal washing day. After putting the first load of soiled clothes into the washing machine and switching it on, I turned my attention to making ragi-rotti and consuming it for breakfast. As I was enjoying the healthy repast with a blob of homemade butter, I heard 2-3 screams coming in intervals as if some heavy furniture was being dragged upstairs. Assuming that my grand nephew (GN) who stays on the first floor with his bride must be rearranging the furniture, I continued eating my breakfast. The ear shattering screams continued to come in batches. I called my GN and asked if they were shifting any furniture. On their denial, I checked up with my washing machine. The grand thing was doing its usual smooth working and getting on with the cycles in order. Puzzled, I asked my neighbor (pulling her out of her busy morning chores) if they had been doing anything with their heavy furniture. She told me,”Aunty, we are not doing anything. The sound is coming from your house. Could it be your car?, I ran back to my washing machine, switched it off and switched it on and waited near it. Sure enough the ear splitting scream came from my own machine.

By then the young couple from upstairs had joined me. I told them it was very easy to remove the back panel of the W.machine and check what the problem was. In fact I had twice removed safety pins from my two previous machines without Ramu’s knowledge. But my GN insisted that I call the mechanic from the Washing machine company to attend to whatever problem properly. Nodding my head vigorously, the moment they left I disconnected the machine from the wall socket, turned the machine through 180 degrees and opened the 4 Philip screws that held the panel. Once it was done, the source of the problem was all clear.

There was a sizeable bundle of small clothes-handkerchiefs and items of lingerie sitting in a corner of the machine. The tub while spinning to weigh the clothes must have been sneaking out small items of clothing, all of which had accumulated in a corner of the machine making a screaming noise anytime they got caught in the fan(or whatever) during its spinning.

 I had heard of cooks asked to prepare large amount of items for a marriage or Gokulashtami throwing flour, under/over fried chaklis and tenkols to save on time of making the items. But I never expected my machine tub to be so callous as to pull out all extra loads and hide them in the belly of the machine out of my sight. Heaven knows how long this had been going on as I even found a Jockey underwear of my husband in the bundle. Poor Ramu, he had long done with the need to wear one having given up his corporeal body six months back.

Thank God for the tell-tale screams. Otherwise I would still be doubting my maid’s integrity anytime any item of my lingerie disappeared.

After removing the bundle of clothes from the machine, my GN fitted the panel back (A good lesson for youngsters who depend too much on mechanics, plumbers and electricians).

I switched on the machine and found the verandah flooded with water! Poor mechanic that I am, I had forgotten to reconnect the outlet tube and all the water in the tub was discharged indoors!! Once I reconnected the tube, the second load of washing went off smoothly- purring and wheezing- NO SCREAMS.





17 thoughts on “THE (ME)CHANIC

  1. Sneha says:

    Must i nudge “been there, done that?” I must be worse, for tinkling coins left in pockets of my trousers oft made sounds like the factory of cents. This is astounding – they say for someone to create humor, they oft walk through lanes of anguish, however “trivial” these monotonous undertones be. Thank you for sharing this engaging piece.

    • No, I meant Wheezing as in the case of an Asthma patient. You should stand next to my machine to appreciate the type of sound it makes :). Thanks for the very prompt feedback, Sweetie.

  2. Nuggehalli Pankaja says:

    As usual silently hilarious. You have used the screams of your washing machine to make us laugh-real humorist!

  3. Read your article. Amazing how you get topics sitting at home to be converted into interesting and hilarious articles!!! Hope you will get many more to entertain people interested in reading your write ups.
    Love, Komal.

  4. Linda says:


    I wish you had been with me at a retreat center in Honolulu this weekend. The toilet next to four bedrooms has for several sessions now been squealing when flushed; this week it was clear the pig was being slowly killed, its screams long and drawn-out. We took to padding down the hall at night to avoid waking the others. Most toilets I can correct – but this one has a much more complex valve, and I am defeated.


  5. Vimala,
    GREAT story, as usual!
    Our washing machine horror stories of recent have involved the transmission leaking awful grey grease into the tub, which then unremovably stained whatever laundry happened to have the bad luck to be in the tub. That problem was fatal to both the laundry and the machine, as the cost of replacing the transmission was more than a new machine. And this happened twice!! Once at The Ranch in New Mexico, and once, only a few months later, at our home on Maui.

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