There is a certain virus in the air. It has taken India by storm. No, it is not a consequence of nature’s fury in the form of incessant rains or cyclones. It is not due to smog or pollen that starts afflicting our over-populated polluted cities at the doorstep of winter. It is a virus that hits our country with regular and deadly precision every year for a fortnight or two ahead of one of the biggest festivals we celebrate, Diwali. Of course, I am not talking about retail therapy errr virus.

So potent is this virus that all women are left delirious in its wake. Even normally lazy and happy with clutter and dirt ones like yours truly. Yes, this is called the “safai virus”! It strikes all homemakers, even the Indian diaspora on foreign shores. Weekdays and weekends are spent doing backbreaking work, scrubbing, cleaning, washing and drying with a frenzy unmatched.

Every year around Diwali, our homes undergo intensive cleaning sessions. Mind you, the cleaning is not of the kind where everything is stuffed out of sight to make things look neat. This is my number one strategy all year long, by the way. When this virus strikes, these same overflowing drawers, shelves and wardrobes are emptied. You may even end up discovering long-lost stuff while you are at it. The virus depresses you. Everything seems dirty and super dirty! You can’t believe you were living in this squalor! The more you clean the more dirt you uncover. This seems like such a monumental task that you are constantly yo-yoing between hope and utter despair. Then this contagious virus spreads to the other members of the family either naturally or forcefully.

So, the hubby is engaged in scrubbing bathrooms and fans while the wife takes over the kitchen cabinets, shelves and wardrobes. Kids help in vacuuming the windows; even the younger one is kept busy wiping the grills. The dog goes and hides lest his services be sought as well. Yes, the maid helps too, but this kind of cleaning is best done personally. The menu on these days ranges between khichdi with dahi and chutney and khichdi with raita and papad! If anyone in the family so much as murmurs about the monotony of the eating fare, the mother hen breathes fire and threatens with lethal consequences. Slowly as the cloths get grimier, the house emerges shinier (only in the eyes of the folks inhabiting the space). Strangely, others don’t even notice your extraordinary effort.

Diwali is just a week away, and I am counting days till the virus loses its grip. Yes, this virus afflicts you with aches of all kinds and possesses you to clean everything in your vicinity. Excuse me, but I must finish my other work because I have to get back to my cleaning.

Do you suffer from Diwali cleaning madness as well?



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75 Thoughts on “A deadly virus!

  1. LOL!! Rachna, that was a cracker of a post! 😀

    You know, in all likelihood, this Safari virus, would probably be one virus that people wouldn’t mind getting bugged by! 😉

    • Thanks, Deeps :). At least this virus runs its course soon. Of course, there are others who are afflicted more severely and continue to exhibit symptoms all year round ;-)!

  2. Aha! My favorite virus!! Agree, its intensity reaches an all time high during Diwali! Thank God, I was free from the affliction of this virus last week and the ‘suffering’ lasted a week!! With me the routine is that I start the day with great zeal and by mid noon, when the mess is at its peak, I get panic attacks. A tea break and I am re-energized to take on the world, I mean the room 😀

    • haha Shilpa! Of course, I now how very particular you are about cleaning :). My routine is similar to yours too. I start with a fervor and go on till lunch time by which time so much of my body is in agony. A lunch break and nap and I am raring to go with lesser vigor :).

  3. We just got out house white washed and I thought I would escape this virus this year – since everything has been dusted and cleaned ! But No ! All of us are at it again ! My back aches from the scrubbing 🙂

    • hehe Really! Now painting and cleaning is the worst double whammy. The last time we got our house painted, it was an ordeal beyond compare. We solemnly promised not to touch the paint even if it started peeling!

  4. Hahahaha….Rachna. I was imagining you with a jhadoo and dusting cloth and your terrified family crouching with fear in a spotlessly clean corner of the house.

    Long live khichdi!

    • hehe Purba! Long live khichdi indeed! The poor folks at home are mortified at this avatar of mine. They are sincerely praying that I come to my senses soon :).

  5. Ha ha ha… Rachna. I have blissfully escaped this virus from two years or so. My strategy… doing it on a routine basis so that I can escape the yearly gruel.

  6. while leaving for the office this was the exact topic being discussed at the breakfast table.. 🙂 all women think alike when it comes to Diwali cleaning 😀

    Sorry for eloping 🙂 I have joined work hence blog reading is just mission impossible for me 🙂
    A great pre-Diwali cracker read !! You rock as always 🙂

    • Ah after a long time! Welcome back! Glad you liked the post, My Say :). I can imagine all men turning their noses up at the crazy women afflicted with this debilitating condition :).

  7. Hahaha ..quite a good read ..yes diwali cleaning is on in my house too..

  8. Oh yes… I suffer too…
    And wishing you a happy cleaning
    And advance diwali wishes for you!

  9. Hmm! *smiles indulgently* If the virus does not run its course even after your house is done, Rachna, you know where you can come 🙂

  10. Ah, the safari virus ! It is in its most virulent stage in our house. There are books, books and books. There is no space, but no one wants to discard any book. I used to donate them to a library, but this year, no one wants to part with even one book.

  11. True. The bug hits with all its vengeance around Diwali. After all it is all about pleasing the Goddess of wealth.

  12. Muses of the Heart on October 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm said:

    Lol!!! That was one hilarious and interesting read Rachna 🙂 Even I remember being bitten by this bug during the festive season 😀

  13. Cleaning since a week and its still not over 🙁

    Any tips? 😛

    • Same with me. Weekdays are slow! I have minor stuff left. Hopefully should be able to finish it off in a day or two. Tips :). Just get as many people to chip in as you can.

  14. I am all praise for north indians who do this, in south india we don’t have this safai thing. we continue to celebrate amidst the mess. its a good habit 🙂 and as I said, i always remember u during this time.

    • hehe Vani! Somehow, Diwali got linked with cleaning because of the tale of Goddess Laxmi visiting your house on that day. Of course, you don’t want to welcome her in a shoddy house. Whether one believes in the lore or not, I believe this intensive cleaning once a year is good. Of course, it can be done any time of the year but the habit works well for me.

  15. I too am charged with this virus.BTW where do i find a husband who will clean bathrooms and fans?

  16. Ah!Thankfully my wife is not too finicky and we make do with whatever maid servant manages to do.

    • I am not finicky either. This annual cleaning is something that Is pretty much a part of Diwali for me since a long time. North Indians do it diligently. And since it is something good, I prefer to follow it as well.

  17. Super ROFL post, Rachna! Thankfully, we’ve moved houses recently, so not had much of a chance to make it dirty enough to merit this type of cleaning. Keeping the safai virus affliction to certain selected areas only. Brings back memories of my childhood days:) Happy Diwali to you all!

  18. Honestly, I don’t know whats the deal with the “cleanliness bug”.. It can be done anytime, but no.. Only during DIWALI.. and really no body can tell the difference apart from the woman of the house.. Happy cleaning and Happy Diwali.. Let the fireworks begin 🙂 Nischala

    • Yes, no big deal at all, Nischala! For me, it symbolizes a routine ritual every year that benefits my home as it is intensely cleaned. Of course, no one else can tell, unless one really keeps their house shoddy :). Happy Diwali to you too.

  19. Shachi Thakkar on October 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm said:

    I try to avoid this virus but man, its so contagious….always wins over me :). I recently hired a lady to help me in the morning for couple of hours, and last week she told me on Monday morning…”did u clean the kitchen all weekend :)?” I did spend more than half a day scrubbing it. Hope I recover from the virus soon!

    • hehe I tell you; I fall prey so easily as well, Shachi :). I did the exact same last weekend, cleaning the kitchen and living room like a maniac. My maid was quite amused :). And she had an off on Sunday! I am looking forward to being disease free in a couple of days.

  20. Hi Rachna, New look of the page is gr8. I liked the post on this new virus – one virus which does more good than bad 🙂 s, I guess, we can welcome it. Only once in a year though 🙂 it’s too much of work going on everywhere. Seems to me, there are just so many things to give away 😉

    • Thanks, Poornima :). I like minimal. This is a good virus alright. It is singlehandedly cleaning out muck from our home. Don’t get me started on giving away. There are huge negotiations that happen in my home every year ;-)!

  21. Sprained an ankle, throat is sore as I screamed at family, pets and servant. Also had a huge argument with the dry cleaner who had to take the curtains away for cleaning. Ack!
    Diwali cleaning 🙁

  22. Lolol….honey, you need a good massage before the virus is killed. I just moved two months back, so, no virus in my home…:p
    Happy Diwali to you and your family, Rachna.

  23. Afflicted with the virus already:)

  24. Hah! I say, better this virus than that stupid dengue that’s going around in these parts!

    You really should have put up a couple of ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos to go with the piece. Did you avoid doing that because, like you said, an outsider wouldn’t have known the difference? 😀

    I like the new minimalist design of the blog!

    • True that about the dengue! The cleaning is in the details — clean switchboards, walls scrubbed, fans cleaned, cabinets cleaned, corners paid extra attention to, and lots of junk lying in boxes sorted, discarded or given away.Except the curtains that were changed, none of the before or after pics will show you these ;-)!

      Thanks! I like the new theme too. I had wanted to remove all useless widgets and have promptly placed them in Acclaim :).

  25. Boy that’s an awesome virus u have caught . Happy cleaning and happy Diwali

  26. Happy cleaning… The virus hit me too and doing rounds in my house. But I feel happy with what it leaves with in the end – a tidier surrounding and lots of happiness.

  27. haha 😀 I am caught in the web too 🙂 I am just praying for it to get over soon.

  28. I am so lazy when I am in the cities that this virus of yours can’t catch me. 🙂

    You write well. Keep it up.

  29. anuglyhead on October 31, 2013 at 7:11 am said:

    Oh we r going thru this right nw…and guess what the Virus has even made me catch a cold!! Sometimes I feel that my Mother was a Nagar Nigam employee in her previous birth. Not that I am complaining!!!

  30. Lol!! I need the virus!!! Somehow my house seems clean and I have no motivation to clean!! Kindly pass 🙂

  31. Pingback: Happy Diwali to everyone.. | Perceptions

  32. Your post reminded me of a discussion I’d had with a South African lady once. The gist was that here, in NZ, we managed everything without servants through the year. As a result we both agreed wryly, we’d started off trying to keep up the standards we’d set for our servants back home and as the years passed, become less exacting.

  33. ROFL! It is really saddening to see that others don’t notice the cleanliness that has been the result of your tiring days and weeks. So apt post for Diwali.

  34. Our maid is terrified during Diwali. She goes through unmentionable tortures by the hand of my mother and gets a terrific return gift to ease her pains. 🙂

  35. Oh god, I am coming to this post so late! Belated Diwali wishes to you and your family! 🙂

    The cleaning virus is deadly. It generally does not attack the inmates of my home because we are all pretty comfortable with things lying around and a little dirt (that’s comfy!).:D But oh god, when it does, it does with a fury, vengeance, call it what you may! I am sure you managed to make your space look spic and span. What if no one else noticed it? It’s definitely an achievement. Yo! 😉

    • No problem :). Wish you a very Happy Diwali too! I am always in the state that you have described in your house, very comfortable with the dirt and the clutter :). But once I start cleaning, I do it with a vengeance.

  36. We are clebrating Diwali in Cgarh and I thought I in Delhi will escape the virus But No, I am at ti again— Cleaning and scrubbing . My back aches so !
    Ruch recently posted…Open to Interpretation!My Profile

  37. This was so much fun to read and I need to get back to my post-Diwali cleaning now. I laughed out aloud at the khichdi reference.
    Shailaja recently posted…Let that Laundry Pile UpMy Profile

    • Glad you liked the post, Shailaja. Now that Diwali is gone, I can go back to my crazy ways again. I am not going to look at that duster for a few days.

  38. Pingback: Here's The Dirt On The Diwali 'Virus' No One Really Talks About - Blatant Writer

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