Presswallahs of New Delhi
There are two kinds of presswallahs in New Delhi. Reporters, editors and photographers working for newspapers, TV channels and radio are one kind of presswallah. The other presswallah is an integral part of everyone else’s life. He or she is the person who irons your clothes using a very heavy contraption which is heated with red-hot charcoals kept inside its body.
One presswallah serves about a hundred families in a residential area. Territories are clearly demarcated. The business is taken care of by the dhobi community and no one else is welcome to infiltrate. Uncles, Aunts, grandparents, children, mom and pop, sons and sisters all open branches over a vast region. These are simple open sided sheds. You can see the hard working presswallah working through harsh summers and winters.
They have their own holidays. The last Thursday of every month is the most common single holiday per month for this diligent community. The going rate in well to do residential areas is Rupees three per shirt or trouser. Bed-sheets and table cloths are ironed for a hefty sum of Rupees ten. Only a few presswallahs are sending their children to schools. It is inevitable that with education children will seek less tedious jobs and businesses.