Out of all senses, the sense of smell is perhaps the most underrated. But when you stop for a while and think about it, most of the memories that tie us to our roots are eternalized by some specific fragrance.
I spent considerable amount of time with my paternal grandparents when we were young. Almost the entire summer vacations and Dussehra Vacations were spent with them. Both the navratras were spent feasting on the chhole-poori and the sweet-smelling halwa prepared by my grandmother, and their several neighbours. And I used to desperately wait for the afternoons when my grandmother would prepare her trademark cauliflower sabzi.
One didn't need to be a detective to know when she started frying the minutely chopped florets, because of the tantalizing fragrance that wafted out of the kitchen, potent enough to drag us all in and be seated in line, waiting for the meal to be served. Such was the power of that fragrance, but I am not sure how appealing it would be as a car perfume - the biggest issue being that it would make me feel hungry all the time.
From what I have seen, for the most appealing fragrances, we often have to go back to the lap of nature. One of the fragrances that is most talked about is the fragrance of wet earth after rain. I had thought that this was probably one fragrance that could never be replicated. But when several years back I came across an Itr named Mitti, I was surprised by how closely they had managed to recreate it. I wish there was a room freshner or a car perfume that could make my car smell like that. Getting into the car and driving off will have more incentives then than just discovering new lands.
But besides this there are some fragrances that one just stumbles upon. It happened to me last year when I was in Himachal Pradesh with my family. We had travelled to the bustling town of Hamirpur in the monsoons and were staying in a little hotel away from the market area. One evening, we started walking towards the hill top, with my sister walking next to me. "I love this perfume, you're wearing di." I said to my sister. "I'm glad I smell nice, but I'm not wearing a perfume." What? then what was this sweet, intoxicating fragrance that was making me want to shut my eyes and loose myself in the wilderness surrounding us. Then I realized that it was the giants towering over our heads that were producing this unearthly scent - they were the mighty deodars, hundreds of them. Recently, I came across this fragrance again while driving down from Dhanaulti, forcing me to keep the window open despite the biting cold. I wish I could carry this fragrance with me all the time. I am sure I will sleep like a baby if my room had this aroma.
And then there are some fragrances that are more personal, ones you can never be sure others experience in the same way. There is this lovely fragrance I can often detect in the mornings when winter is about to arrive or when I travel to the mountains. Some people have told me that it is the smell of dew on the grass, but frankly I am not convinced. But I wish all mornings smelled like this, making me want to wake up early and go out for a walk in a garden. *sigh*
I wish someone would recreate these fragrances in a way that I can carry them with me all the time. So when I came to know that Godrej is looking at suggestions to come out with their first crowd-inspired fragrances, I decided to pen these down. You never know, my dreams may just come true!