Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seasons And Smells

The smell of Nivea body lotion and fall came to be associated for me after coming to America. It was the only thing that eased the severe dryness of my skin in this season. Other seasons had their own signature smells and most connections seemed to have happened unconsciously in my childhood. Like the smell of Kiku and starched organdy saris spells summer. It is the perfume my mother wore during the day. Cold winter nights smell of freshly ironed zari borders on silk saris mingled with Tosca.

My own smell of summer is lavender - it is also my smell of peace and happiness. Gardenia and jasmine are winter, starry nights and a gentle breeze that makes you tug your shawl closer around yourself. Burning tobacco is that of the man in charge - a father, uncles and grandfathers all of who were smokers in my family. It is a reminder of their presence and protection. Some events have smells too - like the end of a relationship smells of Bvlgari Blue. It is a beautifully sensual smell but I feel intensely repulsed by it.

Ghee, camphor and cardamom together can transport me to a puja in a temple. A friend who has always been there for me and J uses a certain blend of essential oils that is very distinctly her. That smell is of steadfastness, affection and friendship. Mustela Baby Shampoo is that of J after a shower from the time she was born. I love the smell so much that I have never used anything else on her to this day. She may grow up and leave Mustela behind among other childhood memorabilia but my own memories of her will always stay twined with that smell.

There are smells I long to remember and there are those I wish to forget forever.

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