Even though it’s been quite a while living away from home, I miss my parents quite often. Nothing as comforting as Mom’s touch, is there? I open my closet and look for this stole that was my mom’s favourite back in the days. She would wear it all the time. Overused pale white stole with black block print patterns all over it that started to fade long ago. Surprisingly it hasn’t let go of mom’s smell. I like to hold it close and take a strong whiff, and remember the days when I was small enough to fit on her chest and go to sleep covering my head with the same stole. Also how I would hold one of the stole’s end while she would walk around doing her daily chores. And then all the childhood memories come rushing back.
On a daily basis, we come across countless incidents where a fragrance leaves you in deep thoughts. You are in a public place, bargaining with the vendors selling these trinklets, or maybe you’re just crossing the road to go meet this friend waiting on the other side. And there is this strong whiff of a fragrance in the air, a sudden short lived one, that blows right across your face along with the cold wind. You turn around with the speed of lightening and your eyes search for something. Probably because the very fragrance reminds you of someone. Someone you met long ago, someone who you’re going back home to, or someone you used to know. Or maybe simply because you find the fragrance pleasant. You’re sitting in a cafe, sipping on a warm cup of cappuccino, when this person walks in wearing a scent that fiddles with your memory box. It doesn’t take you more than a few minutes to wrap everything up, walk back to your house and go through the old trunk with precious treasures like your photos, notes and letters. And there you are. Smiling, getting teary, bursting into tiny laughter, all by yourself, while fidgeting with all these little things from the journey so far, each reminding of a particular phase of your life. Happens rather often, doesn’t it?
The smell of rain on dry earth reminds you of someone you held hands with, in the previous rainy season, on the terrace, while the drizzle drops ornamented your hair. The smell of the sand and sea water takes you to the last holiday by the sea. The still so strong smell of the dried up rose petals you find while going through an old diary of yours. Probably the one that your lover who is long gone, gave you the very first time you guys went out. The smell of Lantana Camara berries reminding you of your childhood days. Or the warm woody smell from the stranger at the bar reminding you of a small brief affair from ages ago.
You see, a strong mind like ours, that I would call a hoarder, tries to catch hold of everything, and takes a while to let them go. Scents happen to be the strongest triggers for that matter, and immediately take you down the memory lane. Reminding you of things, places, people etc. Smells can take you places, almost like a time traveller. Leaving you restless, anxious, making you want to go back in time and to do all these things all over again.