Hop over to Hip Hop's to read this post about queer people with OCD on Cleanliness.
It is strange to see such high levels of obsessive behaviour- so much that one doesn't even care about the comfort of the people living in the house.
To me the concept of cleanliness itself has evolved over a period of time. I come from the Northern part of India where it is not uncommon to walk all over the house with your "outside" shoes/ slippers. I never really thought it to be dirty especially because we do not really use the floor for sitting/ sleeping or preparatory cooking. And moreover, the weather does not permit us to walk bare foot at all.
When I landed up in the South, I was majorly irked by the concept of leaving the sandals outside - it is very common for North Indians to joke- wear any slippers and go, anyway you have to walk bare foot inside the house, so what's the point in wearing your strappy sandals to a party.
Or stuff like- I went inside and could feel all eyes on my feet- then I realized that I have walked in with my sandals.
Just imagine a new year bash inside someone's house and you saunter in a mini skirt, fashionable jewels and ahem... bare foot because you are forced to leave your chik sandals outside the door. Most annoying. Thankfully I haven't had an opportunity to attend such funky dos at anyone's home.
And more than anything else, half my self confidence goes off if my footwear is not right, or to rightly put it - absent.
When I first set home here, I did not have "rules" like shoes outside. But as per the practice here, people would leave their footwear outside before walking in, even when I explicitly told them to wear them inside. I found people happily plonking down on the floor when they came home. When kids happened and they were crawling all over the place, putting stuff including slippers in their mouth, the cleanliness dragon within me got unleashed. Today the rule is all sandals outside in the shoe rack that got specially built outside the main door like it happens in all decent self respecting South Indian homes! So I have finally joined the club!
But, the question I ask is- by keeping sandals outside can one really claim that the house is spotless? I have walked into "no chappal inside homes" and have come out with grime in my foot that takes a good scrub with soap and pumice stone to come off. I have seen people with feet that leave black marks all over because they walk bare foot in their homes.
And I have seen homes where you can eat out of the floor. Now that is the place I would inspite of myself, hesitate to walk in with grimy shoes.
Since I live in the ground floor, the dust flies in faster. You can find me obsessively mopping the floor whenever I see my kids' feet get even slightly blackened with dirt. Because I don't want any one to walk into my house bare foot and go back to their homes with dirt. To me it is the most disgusting thing that could happen to someone.
But of course, it only takes a demo from a vacuum cleaning company to make you realize how dirty your home is.
Infact a new outfit of homecleaning system that would make us poorer by a lakh rupees was demonstrated in our house. He talked about a continuous system that keeps sucking dust particles flying in the air.
I had one question for him- while all this sounds very good, what about when I am outside my home, do I carry this with me all around?
What do you think of shops that request you to leave your sandals outside?
Simple- I stop shopping there!