Fragrant connections


One of my dear friends has invited me over to to her house to celebrate Sankranti, the Indian harvest festival. As part of the rituals, my friend dabs a little perfume on the back of my palms. The perfume is of the champak flower. I inhale deeply, the perfume is fresh and fragrant.

The fragrance transports me to my husband’s childhood home, where his parents had planted two champak trees, when they started construction of their home after marriage. The trees are more than fifty years old now, and form a fragrant archway at the entrance to our home. Both trees are still flowering.

When he was still with us, it was my dad-in-law’s job to collect the champak flowers from both trees. Since the trees straddle three floors, one has to go up to the terrace on the third floor to pick the flowers. A specially designed long stick, with a small hook at one end, was the tool of choice to gently nudge the fragrant flowers from their branches. The flowers were collected in an orange bag (a wire bag made at home by my husband’s mom). The beautiful creamy yellow of the champak flowers beautifully contrasted with the orange of the bag. Once he was done, my dad-in-law would leave it in the living room. My mom-in-law would retain a few flowers for herself, to offer at the altar during prayers. The rest were for neighbours, who would drop-in at various times to take the champak flowers. Some would call from the gate, and my mom-in-law would pass it to them after a quick chit chat. Some neighbours would come home and stay for a cup of coffee and exchange local news.

By noon, the orange bag would be empty and go back to its rack in the store room, till the next time. In the evenings, when the sun would go down in the sky, and a gentle, cool breeze would blow, the delightful and invigorating fragrance of the champak flowers would waft in the air. We would usually stand at the entrance and close our eyes in bliss.

All the nostalgic memories come back to me now, as I bid bye to my friend and thank her for her hospitality. Beautiful champak flowers, fragrant memories and deep friendships. I sigh in pure contentment.

Vanity confusion


Which woman can resist a sale? I cannot, especially if there’s a sale on for bags or perfumes.

A couple of months back, I visited one of those huge malls, where I was merely supposed to go in, pick up a gift and head straight home. If only things were that simple!  My shopping neurons hijacked my thinking. I moved in circles and straight lines, walking in and out of shops.

Just as I was leaving, after nearly ninety minutes of meandering, with my hawk-eyes not having missed a thing, I chanced upon a sale for perfumes. 

Testing the various fragrances and inhaling the smell of coffee beans in turns, I was sweet-talked into buying a newly launched perfume. Not only did the perfume smell divine, it came with so many freebies, all of which I was very happy to receive.

I felt this huge sense of achievement, as I told my conscience that it was a great deal, freebies and all. So, the said freebies were a few bottles of miniature perfumes, shower gel, hand moisturizer, umbrellas, note books and many others.

Cut to yesterday, when I had to attend a concert. I was running late, and because my skin dries up quite fast in air-conditioned environs, I hurriedly opened the freebies packet and stuffed whatever I needed into my handbag.

Midway through the concert, my hands felt dry, so I took out the tube of moisturizer and applied it on my hands. What a heavenly smell wafted. I felt really good.

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

After a few minutes, I felt that the skin on my hands was feeling rather stretched and not how it should have  felt after moisturizing.  I let it pass, putting it down to ‘skin needs to adapt to the new product syndrome’.

After the event, when we got home and I went to wash my hands before dinner, a strange thing happened. The moment my hands touched water, frothy bubbles formed on my hands. I was shocked, wondering if I had become allergic to the new cream.

Later that evening, when I cleared my bag, I realized that instead of the moisturizer, I had carried the tube of shower gel with me, which I had then applied generously.

Sigh!

Cool fragrance


We Indians love our kitchen masalas and powders. These powders are typically eaten with hot, boiled or steamed rice and a dash of ghee (clarified butter). There is a whole range available to choose from – coriander powder, curry leaf powder, lentil powder and many other delicious flavours.

One of my friends recently went to India, and picked up a selection of these powders for me.

After she got back from India, I had the plastic bag picked up from her house.
It was a rather busy week, and I did not have the time to empty the contents, so I put away the plastic bag in my freezer.

My dear friend had bought me a gift ( a perfume bottle and a moisturizing cream), which she had put into the same plastic bag.

As I had not opened the bag at all, the perfume and cream were in my refrigerator for a good week, till I met my friend.

When I thanked her (for the powders), she asked me, “Did you like the smell?”

I was quite puzzled. Why would she ask me about the smell of masala powders ?

I told her that I had not opened the bag yet, and she left it at that.

A few days later, I opened the packet to empty the powders and found her gift. Everything made sense.

I called my friend and we had a good laugh!