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A Different Face of a Metro - Slice of Chennai

Updated on January 29, 2008

We Hubbers surely have a lot of things in common - a fact that explains the activity, the comments and the fan clubs. As I was thinking of the backgrounds of us Hubbers and the things that we write about, a question popped up in my head: Why don't I write about people who work in my neighbourhood, not neighbours but workers who are productively engaged and contribute to the immediate community? I believe that these little stories about ordinary folks will present an important aspect of daily life in an Indian metro - Chennai, which is where I live - and enable those interested in India to get a closer look at people who keep the wheels of the economy moving in a very special and interesting way.

The locality I live in is called Thiruvanmiyur, lying in the south of the metro, about a km from the beach. For more information click

Here is the first story.

Iron Men - Keeping us neat and tidy

These men that you see in the pictures operate from a make-shift workspace on a busy street. (You will find at least one such Ironing Shop in every street in Chennai) The man at the back (in the picture) collects clothes from houses and delivers them neatly pressed before the end of the day. They work from 9 am to 9 pm for six days in a week, pressing on an average 300 pieces of clothing every day. They work hard right through the day, with short breaks for lunch and a cup of tea. They have a ready smile and are always willing to stretch themselves for the sake of their customers.

Notice the old-fashioned Iron Box (with a wooden handle) that is filled with hot coal pieces and used for pressing.

Pressing along nicely


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    • ParadiseForever profile image


      8 years ago from Chennai, India.

      Hi Vaidy,

      I really enjoyed this slice of Chennai--the way you focus to the world. Also your other hub which is tailor-made is quite interesting. Keep writing!

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Shalini,

      Thanks. Nice to have you drop by.


    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      9 years ago from India

      Today, visiting Chennai for us means Tiruvanmayur!

      There's nothing quite like the freshly pressed clothes these men churn out, is there?

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks people. This morning when the Collector Iron Man came home, I showed him the hub and the pics and told him that anybody in the world can see these pics and read about them. A quiet man, he gave me a big grin of satisfaction, picked his pile and left - One of those who haven't the foggiest of what Internet is.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Love the smell of clothes being ironed that were sprinkled with water....This was one of my very first jobs as a child. I was 10 and got paid a nickle for each item I it shirt or pillow case or pants..a nickle was the going price. What an interesting place you live in. More more more....G-Ma :O) hugs

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chennai, India

      Wow what a response! Thanks guys. I am enthused to feature at least a few more similar stories shortly. Keep watching.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      I will run out of money, if I keep wanting to go to all these wonderful places

      Thanks for an innovative hub

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I would love to stand by and watch the ironing and smell the clean hot smells of water sprinkled on fabric, heated away by a diligent hand. Lovely Hub! Now I want to go to Chennai. Bravo!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      thanks for sharing the pics and info. I have an insatiable interest in other cultures and people. :)

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      So interesting. My great grandfather was a tailor and I still have a coulple of his irons that he used that are like the ones in the picture. WOW! I would love for somebody to pick up my clothes and iron them like that. lol. Nice HUB.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Vaidy! Please keep your hubs coming. We world-wide should get to know each other. This is the most fascinating part about the internet; it has shrunk the globe. I didn't know those type of irons were still being used...That is very hard work for dial to control the heat.

      Great HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Great that you have taken the initiative to write about the people of Chennai, Vaidy. This evening, I told a soup-on-wheels guy that this was the best city in India.

      I love that sizzling smell -oldfashioned iron box on clothes sprinkled with water.

      Thank you.


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