Disinclined as we are to throw things out, we’re absolutely confident that planted securely somewhere in the furthest recess of our wardrobe lies a challenge worthy of leading international laundry franchise, Pressto. We’re specifically looking for an old Burberry handbag that has served us well. When we find it, and with it, clipped to a large metal buckle, a keychain with photos of our children, we’re reminded of how old this bag really is. Judging from the photos, we estimate about 9 years, a veritable lifetime in handbag-years. Still in pretty good shape, we think, a sort of Michelle Pfeifer of fashion accessories.
But time will leave its mark — peep in and the scars are visible. Ink stains and discoloured patches dot the lining of the bag that initially served as a travel-cum-baby bag, if memory serves us right, and then came in handy on journalistic assignments with more than enough room to accommodate the tools of the trade: cell-phone, camera, notepad, scrunchie, butterfly clip, jumper, wallet, packs of tissues and wet-wipes, milk-chocolate bars, paracetamol, and oh-so-many pens. The speckles and stains it gathered over the years didn’t affect us much; it was like an old friend ageing with us. But now, given the chance to treat ‘Bagwati’ to a much-deserved facial and cleanup, and having grown up reading those unforgettable Charles Atlas ads in which the skinny, puny guy shapes up, both, his muscles and manner, we can hardly resist this opportunity to get our own, ‘before and after’ pictures.
We pluck another bag out of our small collection too, though. Loewe will accompany Burberry, we decide, just in case Burberry is turned away (we’re careful not to say that out loud, though). We check the two in at Pressto, whose signboard, interestingly, stands mere feet away from that of another laundry and dry-cleaning service. Either competition’s fierce, or the residents of this area are obsessed with citrus freshness. We would guess it’s the former because though we were first told they couldn’t possibly give us our bags before the following Monday (we dropped by on a Wednesday), it took little more than a nudge to get them to give them back to us the very next day.
Though it translates from Spanish as “shoe”, Zapato, Pressto’s new service extends to handbags too. This is where you bring your expensive handbags and shoes to have their soles or heels, or any sort of damage for that matter, repaired. You can even give them a colour makeover, we’re informed, though we choose to leave our handbags the way the design-Gods intended them to be.
When we pick them up the next evening, Burberry and Loewe are dressed in hospital gowns... well, in white bags that ooze hygiene anyway. Back home, we examine the difference. Speckles that dotted their exteriors have vanished, dust that had gathered at recessed points on straps no longer dwells there and both bags are actually sparkling. Inside the Burberry, some stubborn ink stains have held, but the transformation is evident and remarkable, especially in light of the time limit we set. The bags, the bill says, “Received standard care,” (Rs 899 per medium-sized bag), and now they’re ready to take their place again. In fact, perhaps they’re ready to make a comeback.
At: Shop No 1-3, 63/65, Mumtaz Manzil, opposite Charagh Din, Wodehouse Road, Colaba