"The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected. "
~Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden
It is a lazy Sunday afternoon and one that seems truly custom made to my liking.
Those who know me would vouch for me being totally not-a-sunday-person. In fact, I am somebody who will instantly loathe anyone who is in seemingly high spirits on a Sunday evening, mainly because I consider it sacrilege to rejoice in the wake of an impending Monday.
But today is different. I am in a particularly good mood and I guess the world around me should attribute the privilege of my esteemed non-grouchiness to the raindrops pitter pattering outside my window while I huddle up in a warm blanket with my favorite book, and talk to you---the book because it provides me with a deep sense of comfort, and talking to you because...err..because I am nice like that.
Anyhoo, when I first read about Ambi Pur's contest on Indiblogger, I was intrigued. Here was a chance to attribute nostalgia to fragrances or smells instead of the usual visual stimulus that we normally associate with our sacrosanct memories---a concept which made me ponder on the lesser appreciated olfactory sense we are blessed with.
However, even today, no other book has managed to fill me with equal wonder, intrigue and empathy for its protagonists...Perhaps these pages got scented with the same array of emotions that the book evoked in me. Thinking of which, perhaps a little bit of us stays as a fragrance in every book we read. Maybe that is why, I love the soft, powdery, drowsy smell of old libraries so much--they are memories from an era gone by, our communication with people we have probably never know or seen, but with whom we share in common, hundreds of printed pages........and the fragrance in between them.
I take a break from reading and make myself a coffee, my third mug for the day. As I inhale the aroma of the cocoa beans, my mind races back to those exam nights in Medical school.
Amidst a sea of piled up textbooks with highlighted notes, half read journals, heaps of old question papers and hopes of establishing some sort of telepathic communication with the examiner, I would be sitting numb at the pillow end of my bed, with intermittent bouts of terribly seductive sleep and excruciatingly hopeless panic clouding my consciousness. That was when Coffee would serve as my only savior and friend. Be it the perfectly brewed cup of fresh coffee by mom or the coffee flavored milky liquid brought by an empathic hostel mate, from the hostel mess, gulping it down would somehow kick start me back into action. The aroma of the fresh hot coffee would render a morning quality to those struggling night hours and an optimistic freshness to my tired droopy eyes, and even before I knew it I was asking for another cup.
"If you weren't a dentist, you could definitely be a baker..." my dad sniggered. Who knew then, that she would take the compliment so seriously? Now our house is filled with the aroma of baked products on a daily basis----chocolate chip cookies, custard muffins, banoffee pie, apple tarts, banana bread, she has almost taken it up as 700bakes-a-year challenge (if there is anything like that).
Nobody complains, although we are a little careful with the compliments nowadays.
Speaking of compliments, don't you think petrichor is nature's best compliment? Nature is at its glorious best when its raining. Today is just one such a day. The scent of the rain soaked earth is emanating a wonderful freshness that is entering my bedroom through the open window. I allow a few drops to fall on my face and hair and inhale the scent of the flowers that are now in full bloom, as if rejoicing in the beauty of the rain. Mixed fragrances of roses and jasmine in my front garden fill my senses and I cannot decipher which is more refreshing. Its true, the rain makes all things beautiful.Sometimes I wish I could be a child once again and get drenched in the rain, sail paper boats in puddles of water and not give a damn about the world around me.Then Jagjit Singh's "Woh kaagaz ki kashti..." comes to mind and I smile to myself....If only...
The mind is inspired by the weather outside and I cant help but pen them down in my diary.
One whiff out of curiosity,
another might for pleasure be...
What follows becomes irrepressible,
and stays etched as a fond memory...
- Fried Mushrooms--
- Eucalyptus oil---its sharp sweet scent reminds me of my grandmother. It was her favourite medicine for a cold. Every time I had a runny nose, she would dab a few drops of this special oil on my clothes, pillow covers, handkerchief and even add a little in my bath water., When I would complain of smelling like an eucalyptus tree, she would laugh merrily pinching my reddened nose with fingers dabbed with the same fragrance. I remember she had this huge bottle of her favorite oil which I thought would never finish. Today, every time I'm down with a cold or fever, the first thing I reach for is the small bottle of Nilgiri oil, or perhaps the familiar scent of my grandmother's love that it carries along.
- Corn on the cob--- The aroma of hot piping corn on the cob, especially when its raining carries me back in time when Sunday evenings were spent on the beach, building sand castles, calling out to the waves and munching on snacks by the beach side that included pani puri, bhel, sev puri and not to forget my favorite corn on the cob.
- the fragrance of Goa---
- Cinnamon---brown and dry and sweet and warm, I manage to sneak in this spice in whichever recipe possible.
- Citrus Potpourri---
- Mysore Sandal soap---
- Incense sticks----
- Hot samosas and Garam Chai---Every time I smell the aroma of hot tea and piping samosas wafting from the kitchen, my mind races back to those college days...and good old Sakharam.
“Smell is important. It reminds a person of all the things he's been through; it is a sheath of memories and security.”
Last but not the least, we should always remember that the musk of captive deer is held to be inferior in quality to that of wild ones. So lets let our memories run wild and free and watch them return to us, making new memories in the process. Holding them captive within the confines of our mind, within the nooks and crannies of our heart, will only restrict them.
Let's travel through time and enjoy the sweet fragrance of what once was, and what will forever stay...our most cherished moments...
Let's wake up and smell the
This post has been written for Ambi Pur's 'Smelly Air to Smiley Air' Contest in association with Indiblogger.
If you are an Indivine user and you like what you read, you can vote for me here.