After much we agreed (A & I) that spring cleaning would be the ideal time for us to throw away old clothes and stuff we had collected over the years. Of course we had made this decision many times in the past but this time it actually happened. Now we had a pile of clothes and the big question - WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM?
Normally old clothes are given away to house helps, the car cleaner, garbage woman and the kabadi wala (in that order) but that is when we have a couple of clothes. Also when our house caught fire we had given off a lot of stuff to them. What do we do with this pile ? We went over the options :
1. Go to a NGO/orphanage. (No we were too lazy to do that)
2. Distribute the clothes between the above mentioned people. (too long a process and will take a few days)
3. Drive to the Pusa Road crossing and give it away to kids and families living there . (Radical but will clear up the mess)
So we packed up and were about to leave when we encountered a bartanwali - she belonged to a group of women who travel around parts of Delhi collecting old clothes in exchange for new utensils. The system is similar to a barter but you are never sure how much clothes do you need to buy something particular. But I rememeber when I was younger it was excellent system to recycle old clothes. The women would wash the clothes and sell them in the second hand market. This was good. We get to recycle the clothes and buy something too.
We finalized a metal dabba.
But there was a problem. Our clothes were not enough to buy that. The woman asked us whether we had men's clothes. She started staring at the jeans I was wearing. We shook our heads. Old shoes? No. Watches? Yes we remembered one. But she was not happy with that. She needed a pair of trousers. Since I do not wear one we looked around for an alternative. Finally we found a pair of shoes. Not good enough. She kept shaking her head.
After much haggling she agreed to give the metal dabba but only after extracting a promise. Another pair of shoes next week when she returns. She stared at my shoes this time.
We are planning another spring cleaning. We hope to find something to please her.