1) Premanand Puthu Mankatty has been running the washing company his father Puthu founded for the last forty years. 2) Being one of twelve siblings, the second youngest of eight sons, it was only fitting that the company’s name was changed from Puthu & Co. to Puthu & Sons. 3) Premanand remembers the father of the current proprietor of the Gamdevi Hair Cutting Saloon near by, whose mooch was like Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s.
4) Customers’ clothes are cleaned and returned in two to three days. During the monsoons it can take five to six days. Sunday Closed. 5) When Premanand’s father Puthu migrated to Bombay from Kundapur, Karnatak, he worked at Cecil Laundry near by before starting his own business. 6) The shutters of the shop next to Puthu & Sons are permanently closed. An Irani restaurant, Gamdevi Restaurant, had its premises there.
Doors: Puthu & Sons Washing Co. (1934)
H. M. Akhalawaya Building, Gamdevi Road, Gamdevi.
By the 1860s, bathing and washing clothes in Bombay’s public tanks had become a threefold problem of public health, community and decency.
The Municipal Commissioners were concerned that the ‘mass of floating filth’ generated by the bathing and washing was the source of the most offensive effluvia which would be harmful to public health.
The native gentry, particularly the Bhattia and Bania communities, wanted to reserve the tanks for the purpose of drinking water.
And a poor woman had to write to the Bombay Gazette, under the sobriquet of ‘Saaf Owruth’, defending her daily routine of body washment at the Dhobee ka tallao, ‘that place I make washment one long wall is, so man cant see from street. If must come that way what for not turn head away, he not a proper man. I little English know but write true, you can laugh.’
Photos by Hashim Badani, a proper man.