It is probably obvious that my overarching love of smell dictates both my love of perfume and of food. Both perfume and food combine basic or simple smells in varied ways to create a layered complexity that I find completely bewitching. Sometimes I can decompose the complex smells into their component parts and sometimes there are unified and impossible to separate. But at all times, they intrigue and move me to the point that I find myself questioning my sanity.
I love the trail that scent memories follow. Like the breadcrumbs that traced their path in ‘hansel and gretel‘, each smell too seems to trace some path- following a string of memories: of faces, places, a touch, a taste or of another smell.
Here are a few of my favorite smells.
I love the smell of:
1. Rajnigandha at night
2. mustard oil
3. the earth after the first rain
4. the warm air just outside street-side shops that sell snacks like mirch bajji
5. onions and garlic frying in ghee
6. my mother’s old sarees that she stores in those steel godrej almirahs
7. risotto, especially while it’s cooking
8. cheese fondue
9. my mother in law’s aavakkai/cut mango pickle
10. freshly toasted and ground corriander seeds
11. melted dark chocolate or a sticky chocolate cake baking in the oven
13. My mother’s Rasam ; and my great grandmother’s rasam powder
14. dried figs
15. whole cinnamon, cloves and star anise heated in coconut oil
16. the drawer in which I store all my perfume samples.
17. fresh mint, cilantro, basil; and sage in butter
18. the small sandalwood box from Honavar, India, that my aunt gave me as a present years ago.(I don’t have the box any more but remember the woody smell).
19. a baby’s skin
20. black salt; and the tangy ‘pani-poori water‘ that contains it (especially those served road-side, in leafy bowls in India)
21. crispy potato chips
22. raw mango (kili mooku mangai/parrot nosed mango) sliced and lightly dipped in chili powder and salt
23. the mixed scent of holy water (theertham), kalkand (big sugar crystals) and jasmine flowers, that hovers in south Indian temples.
24. ripe juicy mangoes with the juices dripping down my chin
25. water when I am thirsty; and the salty sea air
Now, it is your turn! What are your favorite smells?
Image via Express Monorail