We all looked forward to Kaaku Uncle’s visits. My mother for the regional language magazines he brought, my father for the long discussions they would have about the local politics, and us kids for the sweets and savouries Kaaku got us from Narasimha Sweets. One afternoon, the doorbell rang and to my joy it was Kaaku visiting us on a day when my older siblings were at school. Kaaku handed me the Narasimha bag as I went running to fetch him a glass of water. Reaching for the glass, he placed a crumpled and soiled five rupee in my hand, "Go wash it, kid." My eyes fairly popped out of my face at the privilege. It was a task only given to my sister. I looked at mother. Not wanting to miss any of the extended family gossip Kaaku would have to narrate to her, she dismissed me, "Be careful. It is a five rupee note!" I scampered away to the bathroom before she or Kaaku changed their mind. Turning on the tap at its slowest, I gently moistened the note. The soap at hand was green in color. I am unable to recall if it was Liril, Margo, Rexona or Hamam. I gently transferred some of the lather from my fingers to the note and washed it under running water, scrubbing carefully at the grime on both sides. Shaking off the extra water, I quietly made my way to the ironing table, switched on the Bajaj iron to its lowest heat, covered the note with a soft saree used for that purpose, and ironed it to a new life. I held it up to the light like I had seen shopkeepers examining notes for counterfeit. It looked like a five year old ready all shiny and ready for the first day of kindergarten. Eyes wide with anticipation, I handed it to Kaaku. He patted my head, "Well done!” as I ran back to the forgotten savouries. I had forgotten about Kaaku’s visits and the money laundering he taught us until last December when I was cleaning up closets in the kids’ rooms. As I came across money long forgotten and carelessly stashed away in the draws, I started to form a lecture to deliver later: "You know money doesn't grow on what grows in our backyard." But the scolding mother in me suddenly flew back in time to a little me washing the five rupee note with a green soap. This is not something that "Happens only in India!" I said to myself, "Why not in America!" The soap was a white Dove soap and the tap sported a sophisticated gold-trimmed faucet but all else was just like when I was a little girl. Like a scientist de-oiling a pelican’s wings on a deserted beach, I took my time to wash the five dollar bill in the quiet house late at night with only the heater’s sound for company. Taking a chance, I ironed it without googling the temperature to use. It felt so affirming and life-giving to behold the "new" bill that I promptly forgave the errant child in my mind. This laundering remains my favorite "money" memory. Googling it a bit I came to know that Indian rupees are made of cotton and balsam, and American dollars use seventy-five percent cotton and twenty-five linen. I am now like a child who has just learnt to say "Hi" and has to say that to everyone in the supermarket and the parking lot -- constantly on the lookout for dollar bills that need laundering.