I know it sounds clichéd, but I can’t believe it has been four years since my first post in this space ( For, yes, there have been other spaces). I felt awkward writing that post, unsure who or what I was writing to. I am usually uncomfortable writing in a public space, preferring to write for myself or at least pretending I’m writing for myself during the process of writing. Yet there is that unaccountable need to share. What I think, see, feel. And yes, smell. Somehow, over time, I think I have found a voice or a handful of voices for this blog. Voices that sound like me. Not like a fuzzy internet personality that my voice has kidnapped and assumed. But atleast somewhat like me.
When I started this blog, I remember keenly the feeling of being scattered over the internet. This was not my first blog. Or even my second. It was my third blog since I’d ventured into perfume land and my fourth over all. My first ‘scent’ blog was a journal like space called ‘She smells seashells’, which I started mainly to record my perfume blending experiments, my essential oils and absolutes, as well as to write the occasional perfume review. When work caught up with me and the scent experiments reduced, I wrote about what I was cooking, and listening to, and eating. But after a while that space started feeling diary-like yet un diary-like and I realized I needed to move. And start over. On a blank sheet of paper (an entity that I often have an unhealthy obsession with).
However, in a ‘this is also me” way, I’d like to share a perfume related post from that time. A sort of ‘gathering all my selves’, but after the need for doing that is gone:
With this current blog, to avoid it going the way of the others, I decided I wouldn’t ‘slot’ it but allow it to grow a mind of its own depending on whatever form the muse took. Perfume. Food. Sculpture. Film. Whatever, moved me enough to write. And I realize that over these four years the blog has sometimes experienced an identity crisis. ‘Am I a Food Blog?’ or ‘a Perfume Blog’ or a ‘blog about this and that and nothing in particular’. But I think the reason I didn’t force it into a mould of sorts is the reason I am still here, and still feel like writing. So I won’t over think it but leave it like that : ‘a blog about whatever I spy through my sensory window’.
And in the spirit of birthdays and anniversaries, I shall reminisce about my first perfumes. The ones that made my smell loving, perfume-shunning self realize, that there were perfumes I could love too. The first two perfumes that I developed feelings for were Christian Dior’s Hypnotic Poison and Dune. I was around 15 at that time and my mom handed my sister and me a set of Christian Dior ‘minis’ that my uncle had bought at Harrods and gifted her (or us, I don’t remember). I don’t know why the fact that he had bought it at Harrods stuck in my head. For that matter, I don’t even know if he did buy it at Harrods. Gifts were the way that most of us from Indian middle class families experienced perfume. A relative who lived in the U.S and visiting would often bring gifts of perfume for the women. And so the perfumes (like Estee Lauders and Elizabeth Ardens) that I smelled around me at weddings and other social gatherings were probably not always reflective of a voluntary choice. That is not to say that these perfumes were not good. Many probably were. But they were not always to my taste and I did not identify with them. Hypnotic Poison and Dune, though, smelled different. They suited me. I didn’t feel like ‘somebody else’ when wearing them. And so I started dabbing a tiny bit of hypnotic poison on one arm. I enjoyed the unusual almond-vanilla in it but to offset its denseness, I would often dab a bit of dune by its side. [That should have been a sign of my future non-monagamous relationship with perfume]. I haven’t worn these perfumes in ages but still own some. Yesterday, I spritzed a bit of Hypnotic Poison and a bit of Dune side by side. Sprayed, these perfumes do have a tendency to induce a headache so I was careful. When I sniffed them, they did not magically transport me to the place where I was 15 years old discovering these for the first time. But I can certainly see their appeal even though I no longer feel compelled to wear them. I often forget, but of all the mainstream perfume houses, Christian Dior is still the one whose offerings I instinctively like.
This post is turning out to be longer than I expected. And I don’t really want to end with a clichéd flourish. So I’ll end my post right here.
P.S. I re-read this post and realize that the ending does seem abrupt. I would apologize but it seems weird to end a birthday post with an apology. So I will just wish my Blog a ‘Happy Birthday’ and get on with it. Growing up, I always personified my diaries and journals (and even my socks) so that doesn’t seem as weird..:)
P.P.S. I suddenly remembered another perfume that I loved. My aunt and uncle (who lived in Cairo at the time) bought my sister and me a bottle of indigenous Egyptian perfume each, which, if I remember correctly, smelled exquisite.
Picture via We Heart It