Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ten smells I love

I’ve only recently rediscovered my sense of smell. Earlier there were only good smells and bad smells, but of late I find perfumes, scents, aromas, flavours… there’s a whole new world out there. You just have to breathe in deeply and take it all in.

1 ) Blooming jasmine buds threaded together. There is something quite intoxicating about their powerful scent. In the olden days, kings used to wrap these garlands about their wrists while courtesans danced for them.

2) A dog’s fur, a day after a bath. I don’t much care for the smell immediately after the bath; it smells too much like the dog shampoo I’ve been applying. But a day or two after the bath, the hair’s still gloriously fresh and it has a smell so, well… doggy!

3) A warm mango freshly picked from a tree. This is a pleasure I recently discovered. The house we’re living in actually has a mango tree on the premises which this season yielded a grand total of twelve mangoes! I picked one of them myself and I couldn’t be prouder.

4) Old old books. They should be so old, the pages have yellowed. They have a delightfully musty odor, it’s full of things you vaguely remember, that you can discover all over again.

5) New books. I love the smell of ink and plastic and print that they all carry. They smell delightfully new, totally untouched, waiting to be explored.

6) The kitchen when my mother’s making Halwa. It’s a delicious smell, of flour cooking in ghee and unfailingly sets my taste buds tingling.

7) Talcum powder just after a bath. The smell mingled with that of soap and the feel of water droplets all contribute to such a glorious feeling of freshness.

8) Raat ki Rani. These tiny green star-like flowers bloom only for one brief night. By morning they are faded, their perfume blown away by the wind. But that one night of revelry is enough, to walk past this bush and to inhale their heady perfume is enough to transport me headway into the Arabian nights.

9) A mint bed freshly trampled on. At the risk of sounding like an aroma therapist, I’ve never smelled anything fresher. I get a milder feeling of the same sort from toothpaste; it’s the only thing that can wake me up in the morning.

10 The steam that rises when cold rain comes in contact with the boiling earth. I wish I could make a perfume out of it to carry around on scorching summer days.