July 26, 2014

Fragrance From Subconscious Mind

It’s a fine Sunday morning. Seems like my dreamy eyes don’t want to wake up but the aroma of fresh coffee is slowly caffeinating my senses. Stretching my arms while in bed, yawing in the moment I scream “Amma (Mom) is my Bru coffee ready?”
Amma: You woke up early, get some more sleep if you want. You have a long day ahead.
Me: Where is Appa (Dad)?
Amma: He has already set out today to run some errands. He won’t be home until lunch.
Me:  I smell fresh coffee, is it brewing?
Amma: Yes, making a fresh batch just for you.
Me: (hugging her) Thank you Amma. You make the best coffee. I wish I could take you with me   :)
Amma: (while I am hugging her even more tightly) ok, just brush your teeth will you?

As I finish sipping my last drop of coffee whilst enjoying some good read from Times of India in our balcony I see my mom with a glass of water chanting some mantras walking towards me (into the balcony). She stood by me to water the Tulsi plant (Sacred plant from the family of Basil). A gentle breeze just passes under my nose injecting the sweet, smooth smell of lavender.
Me: Amma, I was going to skip my shower today but you got me all into it or can I just rub myself onto you so that I can smell like lavender too.
Amma: I know Sunday is a holiday, but not for showering. So get yourself drenched and yes, you can use my Yardley Lavender Talc after.
Me: (sniffing her neck) Thanks Ma, you are a breath of fresh air. This smell is so relaxing. I wish I could take you with me  :)
Ma smiles at me, caresses her hand over my head and walks inside.

I step out of the bathroom and I hear our pooja room ki ghanti (prayer room bells) and I see a thin mist floating around. I take a peek into the Pooja room and see my mom completely focused in her prayers. The incenses were burning with the amber glow at the top spreading in the air the mystical godly fragrance.
Amma: Come and say your prayers too and get your blessings from the almighty.
Me: (Unprepared for the situation, I just walked in and sat beside her with my hands joined) Ma, can you sing the Aarthi (devotional song)?
Amma: Let’s sing together in chorus.
wasn't in the mood, but thanks to the smell of incenses that brought out the sanctity in me
Chorus Singing….
Me: Amma, this Cycle brand’s sandalwood agarbatti’s (incenses) give out such a divine smell. Wish I could take all this with me :)
Ma smiles at me, caresses her hand over my head and walks out of the Pooja room (prayer room) hiding her face. I could see a little drop of tear in the corner of her eye.

She stops and turns around to say something -
Amma: I am making your favorite for lunch today - Vegetable Pulao (Rice Pilaf cooked with assorted vegetable in a blend of whole spices with the dominating smell of cinnamon).
Me: Ah, Amma, you know exactly what can make this Sunday very special :)
Amma: But it’s going to be at least an hour until I am done with cooking. Why don’t you take out the suitcases and start some packing.
Me: (in a sad reluctant tone) Ok, I will.

Just as predicted in an hours’ time I could get a whiff of the aromatic spices especially of the cinnamon in its final prep form that’s incorporated in the Pilaf. It was whetting my appetite. I ran to my mom hugged her in a jiffy from behind.
Me: (sobbing with convulsive gasps) I wish I could take you with me :(.
Amma: (turns around holds me in her arms unveiling her tears) I know you will fly away to a distant land far-far away but you can always connect with your memories using the power of smell that you can store in your subconscious mind.

Just then the doorbell rings. Amma wipes her tears and goes to open the door.
Amma: Your Mehndi (Henna) artist is here, get ready.
The doorbell didn’t stop ringing…. Soon the whole house was filled with family and friends.
In no time the energizing smell of eucalyptus (that was mixed with the henna) was circulating the house which helped relieving the stress in the atmosphere.

I bet you guessed by now that I was describing a scene from the last few days before I was going to be married. I weaved a memoir with all the distinctive fragrance from that day and registered them in my subliminal thoughts to reminiscence these beautiful moments in the years to come.

It’s been over 10 years now that I don’t get to enjoy my Sunday specials that way. Life moves on but the memories from my subconscious mind flashes before my eyes when a similar fragrance smears the air. These are my most treasured fragrances that I seek every day to bring back those moments alive and here are some of the places that have helped me try to conjure my memories of this specific period of my life even today here miles away.

When I walk the cobbled stone streets of Pikes Place Market (Seattle Washington - The genesis of Starbucks), the strong brawny smell of coffee from Starbucks invigorates my senses reminding me of my ma’s filter coffee days.

When I shielded myself in the scent of lavender during Lavender fest season (Sequim, Washington) it brings me closer to my (omnipresent) Ma .

When I visit the Hindu temple where I stand still in the serenity and sanctity of the smell of Sandalwood paste that they use to welcome devotees. 

When the holiday season (Nov-Dec) dawns upon here, the entire city seems to get influenced under the woody smell of cinnamon. Cinnamon based drinks, baked treats, scented candles…..It’s everywhere  – Malls, shops, neighbor’s house.

When I tread the mall, I am automatically drawn towards Yankee Candles showroom wherein I go to buy my candles especially the one that has the Eucalyptus scent.
When it’s rainy or too cold outside  I cozy up myself in the favorite corner of my home where these candles burn down to throwback my wedding memories.

There are times when I don't have to walk the lanes of Pikes Place Market or visit the local temple or be amidst the Lavender farm or wait the holiday season or loiter around the mall in order to smell those distinctive aromas that sped me back in time. A walk along the sea side whilst taking in the cool, fresh smell of the ocean that wafts the air, is good enough to transport myself back in time to the very same place and among my beloved people.

Contributing this post towards #InspireAFragrance via IndiBlogger sponsored by Godrej aer

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