The Iron Men

The apartment dhobi was a good man. Lets call him Dhobi2. He would collect the clothes and return it promptly, well pressed. He was good at his job, never lost/misplaced any of my clothes and was always on time. One fine day he was missing.

I asked the security guards about him and came to know that no one had any idea about his whereabouts. But he left only after returning all the clothes to the people staying in the apartment.

One of the security guard explained how he became the apartment dhobi. He had a predecessor who was serving the apartment for quite a long time. He was a local dhobi who goes around the neighborhood pushing his cart. One of the families who stay in the apartment invited him to be the apartment dhobi. He was given a small space at the underground car park to press clothes. The on one fine day, the predecessor was missing and there was Dhobi2 pressing clothes. The family who bought him here questioned Dhobi2 about the predecessor only to know that he had sold the ‘rights’ to press at our apartment for 10,000 Rs. (yes ten thousand !!) to Dhobi2.

Now this story is true at the same time strange on how the ‘rights’ to serve the apartment was sold for 10k to a poor man.

Now my best guess is that Dhobi2 would have sold the ‘rights’ he bought to a third person who would be taking the post of the ‘Apartment Dhobi’ soon. Strange??


  1. Ohh my my…..hmm ya even in our apmt, the watchman bought his second family [;)] to be the apmt dhobi…and seriosuly they do bring in their successors…and people are like till their work is done no one says anything….hmm…hopefully this works

  2. Not strange at all, dude. The dhobis have an unwritten code of conduct among themselves… Do one thing – as an interesting experiment, visit the nearest Dhobi Ghat on a Sunday and see what they do there… They pool in their collections and have a terrific meal with their families and party hard! 😀

  3. In our area the watchman always brings a new one and takes him to every home and introduces him as the one who will be replacing him. So I guess this is a trend.

  4. Isn’t it a good system? Rather than fighting it out publicaly on streets for their area of functiong, they solve the matter among themselves! But you are right, it is strange too:)

  5. ha did you buy it?Or from his comment,i think it is Nikhil 🙂 Presenting Nikhil the dobhi wala!

  6. I really don’t think this is a bit strange… people do let the places which in the first place they never own, like a tea stall, dhobi place, any “rektdi” (food stall) and such. In ahmedabad i have seen even a small “temple” being lent out!! 🙄

  7. well well well….why learn all these MBAs and MIBs?? Here is how to make money from trees…

  8. We have the same Dhobiwala from the last 25 years! And when I was in Chennai, I was the Dhobi myself and I never sold my rights. 🙂

  9. Totally shocked 🙂 OMG! Never heard of something of this sort happening. You need to admire his business acumen.

  10. Well, I had heard of these things happening but had no idea that the amount for a dhobi place was so much. And I am sure they have to pay others off too, like the building watchman, and other concerned people. Its like a first come first served thing and those who get there first, “own” it.

  11. Yeah, its like “Kabza” and they take money to leave the “kabza”. In India, kabza is a very great underground business, as goons take kabza of even claimed/owned land and then ask for money to leave the land, the price asked is usually half the the actual price of land.

    Same is the case of dhobi’s, not these kind of dhobis who are given a space in apartment buildings. But other dhobis, who sometimes have their tables and huts installed in unconstructed but owned residential plots.

  12. Not only the Dhobis, the sweepers are also sold and bought. Like Sakhi mentioned the rights for the chadhawa(offerings) of some temples are auctioned fortnightly or monthly among the families of the pundits who are serving or earning from the temples for generations.

  13. sahaja, Nikhil,
    Seems like its everywhee 😀

    Reading all the comments, I think yes, this is a trend

    haha, that is true and good to make some quick money as well.

    even the seat of a bus would be owned by the person who first sits on it and mark it with his hankerchief

    Scorpio, 😀

    You could have sold it for 10k min.

    somethings that the IIMs dont teach.

    Their value is too much. Wouldnt be long before the banks start giving loan on the place they have occupied.

    True the goons own their public space, even the pani puri wallas space and take money from them to keep their business running.
    Ture, This is like an unwritten rule, like anshul mentioned its the goons who is controlling everything.

  14. And has DHobi no.3 taken up his post by now?

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