The rags to riches and the reverse has been talked about and discussed quite a bit. But does any one spare a thought for the poor, measly ‘rag‘? I felt it was high time we spotlighted the rag and discussed how important it is in our daily lives.
Before we proceed, it is important to distinguish between a mop and a rag. A mop is a piece of cloth that is essentially used to clean the floor – the pochha mop as we call it colloquially, in India. The rag however is different from the pochha mop. A rag is a small, tattered piece of old cloth that you use for any kind of cleaning. But, the rag is not used to mop the floor as it would end up soiling rather than cleaning the floor.
Have you ever wondered how precious the rag is? What the rag can do, your entire wardrobe bursting at its seams cannot! The rag is the favourite piece of cloth of various service providers like the plumber and the painter. All of us must have surely experienced what the technician who comes to repair a kitchen appliance like a mixer or microwave asks for, as soon as he opens the screws of the appliance. As you shamefacedly look the other way upon discovering a cake of dirt on the external surface as well as all internal parts of the appliance, the technician says, “Koi Purana Kapda hoga?” Then a frantic search for the rag is launched. Since many of us are quite reluctant to declare any of our garments worth discarding, the rag is almost like a mirage. No member of the household readily volunteers to part with his/her clothes. It is then that the lady of the household rummages her cupboard to grudgingly find the oldest dupatta – but not before only a small piece of it is cut and the rest is kept carefully, so carefully that it is never found when the next occasion arises to use a fresh rag. The purana kapda (rag), therefore, is the most priceless and exquisite piece of cloth.
My mother who is fond of sewing keeps a rag exclusively for her sewing machine and never parts with it. It is sacrilege if someone even thinks of using it for any other purpose. Similarly, there is separate rag for cleaning shoes before polishing and one for all and sundry cleaning jobs. The segregation of rags based on their specific area of use is imperative. Rags, therefore, cannot be used interchangeably.
Did you know that the humble rag finds a place in management jargon – but as an acronym? RAG status in project management jargon is an acronym that stands for Red, Amber and Green; it relates to project status reporting which is utilized by project managers to indicate how well a certain project is performing. The green light of the RAG status is used to point out that the project is going well and is progressing as planned. The amber color usually indicates that there may exist potential issues and that project would need assistance in future. The red light of the RAG status system suggests that problems are arising and the project team needs to resolve them in order to deliver the project successfully.
But the colour scheme of the rag at my home is fortunately not limited to these three pedestrian traffic signal colors. The rag that my children use for their art classes is like a work of art in itself!! There are myriad hues that you find on it. Each art class not only enriches the canvass but the rag that they use too. My children realize how precious the rag is; they ensure that it is right next to them before the art class begins.
The rag teaches you that the most tattered, miserable piece of cloth has its own place of prominence in the larger scheme of our existence. Thus, it is important that we give the rag its due. The world is not just about riches!!
2 thoughts on “The Rag Story”
So true. India seems to be a dust factory. Therefore, a good manager never has to hunt for a rag when demanded by a technician. She keeps a number of them at hand, neatly tucked away somewhere, because every day you have to dust your tabletop, books, sofa etc. Very creative post.
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Thanks AKji, for reading and commenting! It is so much fun to write about the mundane things and come up with something interesting.
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