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Ode to the "Cleaning Lady" (Tehran)


Yes, people, it's "Spring cleaning" time again; a "bummer" by any other name!" ? Spring - New Year; makes sense doesn't it? "Out with the old, in with the new".

Now, when we were kids, we were gathered up in a line, issued the "tools" that matched our particular "duty", and motioned off into the various directions that we had been summoned to, where it was vicariously understood that we were "pitching in".

My mum used to ration out candy bars to us, which were always connected to the awaited adamant instruction, "Don't forget to brush your teeth, after!" (My sister had a habit of stashing her portion for later consumption. However, some would inevitably be forgotten, until finally being "resurrected" at the time of Spring cleaning. Not any more eatable, but cherished just the same.)

It's a national tradition in Iran, this "Spring cleaning" (khaane takaani-shaking the house up), which signals the coming of the "hustle and bustle" of the New Year - March 21. (Not to overlook that it is also celebrated in another few countries in the world.)

To get this job done, the troops, i.e. husbands, brothers, sons, are "drafted" to roll up their sleeves and "get to it".

There are also those of us who call in a "cleaning lady" to tidy up, and whisk away the mite-infested dust and dirt of the winter gone by. But, here, I want to say a few words on her behalf.

How many of you have ever "worked up a sweat", other than "working out at the gym" or an intermittent "arobics class"?

The "cleaning lady" knocking at our door, announcing her arrival, starts her tasks fresh and energetic, but as the hours wear on, those glistening sweat beads start rolling down her forehead into her eyes; that single stalactite bead finally dropping from the end of her nose; the forced straightening of her body, hands on hips, lifting her soaked hair and head gear, tilting her head back to thank, whoever she believes in, for the continued strength to push on, in order to recieve that pittance some of you pay, so she can buy new clothes for her children; the requirement on this occasion when visiting with relatives and friends; she, heaving that heavy sigh, thinking of the nice New Year she, and her family, will have this year.

Those of you who haven't done it before, why not take the opportunity to "lend a hand" and "pitch in"? Yes, I know you say, "Hey, that's what she's getting paid for!" But, I say, "So what!"

I'm saying "pitch in". (This can mean, lift those heavy legs of yours, that seem to be weighed down in cement, and let her sweep under them, and get on with the job at hand.) Or take that little extra step; help her move a thing or two, pour HER a cup of tea, let her sit a moment and have a brief chat with you. There is much pleasure to be had in those brief conversations, sharing a laugh or two, then getting back to the cleaning, which now doesn't seem as much a drudgery as it was in the beginning.

Don't be shy, "pitch in" and you, too, may be surprised to find that "long lost candy bar", or something more valuable, that's been patiently waiting, in its hiding place, to be discovered this year. HAPPY Protected content !!

Thank you dear "cleaning ladies" !!

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