Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fragrant Memories...

I loudly shut the book with frustration . This was it mine was going to be the worst project ever. 1 day left or i could say 12 hours left before i was to present a seminar on the A Special Tribute to home:Down Memory Lane . memories ke saath unique project ? thenga ! Not a single idea . I was doomed !
I had spent the whole week googling for information on how I could give a tribute to the so called home! and doing everything to come up with a innovative idea. Alas ! I would get a zero .It was tough to put up a unique presentation which would be hatke from others. I panicked and ran to the kitchen for a glass of water.
The aroma of fresh Gulaab jamuns filled my nose and I grinned.It was late afternoon and mom was preparing Gulaab jamuns to cheer me up. Mom's will be mom's I thought with glee. I loved Gulaab jamuns.
Aaaaah the aroma of hot gulab jamuns ! YUMMM ! I was sure I would eat all of them in just 10 mins.

I popped a hot jamun into my mouth and my tongue was on fire ! I liked my gulab jamuns just like these. Hot ready to burn away stress!
When I extended my hand to pick another one , mom put the plate out of my reach . Wait, don’t eat when I am cooking barkat khtam hojayegi. I rolled my eyes at her ,
“Yeah nice black belief”
“How’s your project going ?, accha idea mila?”
'moooooom, iss barr mein pakka zero" I exclaimed
'Aisa nahi kehte, jawo mehnat karo"
I mentally rolled my eyes , mehnat se kuch hota toh ...
She smiled in return and whisked me out from kitchen telling i just had to get a clear mind, like that would help.
I came back to my room with a hot jamun in my mouth, and thought of getting some sleep to get a clear mind,when a photo album landed right on top of my head with a thud.
*ouch*  I rubbed my head slightly , and smiled at my loving album.
All photos scattered . I started retrieving the fallen ones and when I had finally picked up the last one, I sat down to give a quick look to all the photos I had treasured with so much love.
It was an old one. Very old. Faint smell of faded paper smell arose from it.
It had memories, memories of this home, my childhood, my happiness...
photographs had always held a special place in my heart.
Just as I was about to open it , mom had come bustling inside the home spraying the sweet Ambi pur fragrance ... So sweeet. I inhaled deeply and let out a loud sigh.
My mom sat beside me and took my hand in hers .
"that's a nice fragrance , you know" I said
"i know, do you want any help with your project"
I shook my head ,
"you have enough on your hands"
"tell me what is this project of yours about"
When I had finished explaining , she was all smiles .
“Its simple. Relax you will figure this out she smiled”
I wish her words would turn true. I sighed deeply .
“We are going shopping , you get to baby sit him”
“Shopping without me ?” I made a face at her.
“You have your project or are you willing to join us and get a zero?”
I frowned further more, but the next few words of my mother had a totally different effect on me..
In the midst of dressing up and reaching the door she said the words that saved me . Found me.
“Hey, I just thought Why don't you pay a tribute by associating all the fragrances and smells of your home"
"MOM ! YOU"RE AWESOME, I LOVE YOU" i jumped with joy all over the bed carrying my nephew. 
This was it...I sat back and spread newspapers on the bed and pulled out all books , pins and stationary. And with the help of my photo album I was certain I would bring out the best memories associated with different smells and fragrances in my home. I cleaned the mess on my bed and spread the album neatly …
And that was how my journey back to a childhood full of wonderful memories started..
There were photos of me playing with sur sur battis during the Diwali time.Photos of me doing a masakali pose with a pigeon who had made a home on my window sill. And pictures of my drawings , my bro lil brothers playing galli cricket. 
And I started writing the magic of home, where smells and fragrances could bring back nostalgia...

The smell of festiveness...
The Sur sur battis.My favorite.
Every time during diwali we used stay out till 9 in the night and bring back our booty of packets of sur sur battis, flower pots and atom bombs . We would then stand in our balcony and proudly play with the sur sur battis. The whole balcony would smell of sulfur and charcoal. The fact that I was a muslim and yet had burst all kinds of firecrackers still brightens up my sometimes . I giggled at the thought. 
Stench of chicken poop .
As kids we were so very fond of small chicks as pets . We had a small garden my mom treated it like her baby. They used to wander around in my house and sometimes find place even on my blankets. So cute and soft they were. We would keep chicken races. placing them a a huge base and dividing the race course with sticks. We had the fun of our lives encouraging are chickens to get them running till the finishing line! Names for every chick, medals for the winning chick, what a chickeny affair.Haha.The best part was when my siblings chick would poop on the base and refused to run forward. It was a sight, seeing my brother cursing his luck for picking up that particular chick. what a memory it was. 
Fragrance of dried flowers in books..
As a child I was very fond of flowers , well who wouldn't be . Flowers are  friends in disguise just like books!
I would keep roses and flowers between heavy books (Read yellow pages directories which were supplied for free which unfortunately is nowhere to be seen now)so that they could be preserved till eternity...just like memories..
100_3574Smell of greens..
Out in the balcony and the stench of something familiar crossed my mind.
..there was moss, as water from the AC kept dripping ..I couldn't help my smile…
Greenery din't smell good all the the time.
The stench of it always make are towels put out for drying smelly, and when anyone had a bath and ended up using the particular towel, they would be smelly instead of fresh …and a memory of my brother smelling and fuming popped and I chuckled into the air…
Just so a faintly odd smell tickled my nose and my gaze travelled on the balcony where my favorite susu flowers scattered on the floor. Ah , how much of my time I had spent collecting and planning naughty things to do with the fruit of these . I smiled sheepishly . Mahn I missed those days.
   The simple Rangoli in the adjacent house reminded me of how I once had stepped on Cow dung (it was a part of rangoli) and  raced inside hopping on one leg.
Later on getting bashed to not have washed the dung out of the house, my whole house was smelling of cow dung furiously.LOL. ^_^100_3345
Just thinking of all the memories made me lightheaded. I smiled inwardly and stood there and let the wind play with hair. The sweet fragrance of flowers and dry leaves from the tree adjoining our balcony danced happily around my head and a few dropped down as the wind touched them.I stopped the urge to pick them up and take them to my room where I would press them into a fat book and treasure them till eternity..
As I stood there I knew I would never get the warmth of my house anywhere. The idea of leaving this started to sound a bit strange…
I sucked in a deep breath, I shouldn’t be thinking of staying behind. I cleared my thoughts and got back to my room.
My eyes drifted to the album which lay half open on the bed. Inviting.Warming.
The next thing I was doing was flipping pages and recalling all moments when the pictures were captured…
My hand rested on a very old picture of mine , where all my aunties had platted my hair and decorated it with fragranced mogra flowers…I was very fond of my hair, long and black . Thick they were. The memory of mom applying coconut oil “Beta thoda aur lagane do, mazboot baal rahenge” and I would make faces saying “Sab mujhe coconut ka tree bulate hai, Itni coconut ki smell aati hai mujhse,basss bhi karo mom !”
The next picture that caught my attention was a lovely me with my hands stretched out for my mehendi to dry..It was one of the night before Eid ..where all neighboring girls would hop in to my home to get their hands decorated with mehendi. I loved mehendi ! The smell aftermath the mehendi was removed was heaven! I could smell it for months and months and never get bored ! The day before Eid was filled with so much fun.All the colony kids would be handed over to me. (So bad I was in drawing mehendi, I only got the kids –.-)and once the drawing would be done we would apply a syrup of freshly smelling lemonade and sugar on it…So much happiness I sighed .
Smell of wax...
Times when there were power cuts and I used spend hours touching my nose on the books during night time in the light of a candle flame..
This reminds me of how my mom used to scare us when we used to do mischief and actually drop hot drops of was from candles when we crossed the line of mischief and ran away from home to play only to return at 10 at night :P Such painful memories associated with candles ...
Smell of nature on my window sill!
There were twigs and feathers all over my third last window, it was a sacred place. all the colony kids would come up to my house to watch the fascinating eggs a pigeon had laid. My mom had laid strict rules to never touch the nest. And I used to slowly open the first few windows to catch a glimpse of the mother pigeon warming her eggs, a little bit of movement and she would protectively look in our direction with pain..
I used to spend so much time putting up dry leaves and leftover rice and water for the bird... Throwing a towel by the grills during rains to cover the nest from getting wet…
The aroma of spices in food
Mom ke haath ka khana ! YES !my kitchen, every aroma, smell in my kitchen bring back memories of me with my mom.My mom teaching me to cook for the very first time..not eating food whenever she used to scold me and she manwofying me to eat later. awww.the numerous dishes she used to cook when guests would arrive with huge gifts ;D ;P
The aroma of rotis...the smell of flour
I loved rotis, and childhood is where we experiment , whenever I smell flour it reminds me of times where I used to make birds from dough and cook them happily and eat them half cooked half raw , inspite of mom scolding us for creating a mess in the kitchen while making them .
Learning to make Chapatis from Mom but ban gaya Bharat ka naksha :P & Atta spilled all over :D
The smell of spices …
My favorite spot in my home was the balcony where me and my sisters used to plant garlic n onions in small pots :) And then the happy feeling when mom actually ran out of ginger n garlic and she would ask us to pluck a few from our treasure :’D
The kushbu of Mitti…
right from 2 years old to finding ZGhar ke flower pots ki mitti irresistible and eating it up when mom was no where to growing up loving the kushbu of mitti singing in to my home when it used to rain ! LOVE MUD !
So much so during our childhood we used to gather with the colony kids and friends and go hunting for the perfect mud and bring back loads of fine mud from parks far far away. And spening long summer afternoons in the kushbu of mitti. Carving, doing everything to make perfect kitchen utensils and gast stove in mud! Perfecto I say !
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The smell of sweat and sporty bliss!
Cricket ! Bharath ka asli national sport ! How we used to spend hours playing galli cricket and gilli danda. We being girls never got a fair chance to bat though :/
the long summer afternoons where you would play board games like saap sidi , Carrom,laal peet,hopscotch,lakori and ludo
The times when we went back home smelling awfully of sweat and grit ! A horror some bath by mom followed !How scared I was to take a bath ! Damn miss those lovely days!
Also those times when there was Ind-pak match or any other big cricket tournament ,it was so much fun during cricket matches where d entire neighborhood used to assemble to our place,those Hi5's!
I t was this epic day when my neighbour would recalibrate the TV antenna. Hogaya?!?! Nahin hua.. thoda sa wapas.Hogaya?!Hahaha
Complete Ban on TV during board exams ;) And we would go like mummy sirf eak match dekhne dona plsssssssssssss .Haha
sking dad to become the ghoda,Mom to share her lipstick, daadi to give xtra ladoo, its FAMILY at home
The fresh fragrance of flowers…Ummm
Collecting myriad garden flowers including hibiscus, roses, jasmine, lily for putting it up on our long braids.. And then paying fine at school for coming along with a rose on my nariyal ki choti.
The fragrance of jasmine reminds me of those times when my di’s engagement took place at our home and my aunt’s giggling like kids made both the groom to be and bridegroom to be side by side and performed various rasams or rituals which included making the bride and bridegroom eat from the same laddoo.And then putting jasmine and rose garlands around their necks.The children I mean the me and my cousins cooing, and showering them with mogra flowers and whistling while the aunt’s garlanded :’P So much happiness and fragrance !100_3551
The soft plush fragrance of soft toys bundled up in my room.
Right from childhood I have soft spot for barbie dolls and soft toys. Everytime I had my birthday I wished everybody got dolls and huge teddy bears ! It was my dream to own a teddy in every size..
And those times when I hid soft pillows and teddy’s under the blanket to disguise as I'm sleeping to sneek out of home during early mornings to roam around the children’s play park. LOL. It was so so awesome. Sigh.
Also the soft smell reminds me of those times I used to shove a Teddy up my shirt and used to roam around the house pretending I was pregnant :P
I used to fall asleep on the couch, playing with teddy’s and Barbie's and used to wake magically in my own bed, nicely tucked in. <3
And those sweet pillow and teddy fights me and my siblings used to have at nights !
Sleeping on Terrace in Summers with my teddy beside me,Counting Stars,Listening to stories from Grandma and re telling those stories to my teddy...What else is Life! Ahh a simple soft smell can bring back millions of sweet torturing memories which we would never get back..25122010389
The stench of tyre’s…
It occurred to me now that the tires stored in the spare space of my balcony can bring back so many fond maemories, the times when we used to run along the road pushing a tyre with fat plank and running like a mad kid behind it. the times when we used to hang the tyre from the Champa tree in front of my home and take turns to swing on it ..
The smell of stationary and crafts…
The times when we were flooded with loads and loads of homework as we had a 10 day holiday for dussehera and the amount of painting and drawing and craft me and my siblings would indulge in is uncountable! We used to love painting and poke our noses into paint boxes and drawing books for countless hours and skip lunch to complete our drawings..All the paint brushes, sketch pens and palettes scattered across the room floor and dirty hands smudged with paint. That moment where when the only stress we had was how to mix in the right color or how to craft the perfect lady’s finger flowers …
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The beautiful inviting smell of my room, the walls , the paint on them,the curtains and wardrobes…
the smell of faint Asian paints remind me of those memories when I cried because my dad got my pink walled room repainted into blue one :)
And it the smell of paint on my wardrobe reminds me of timetables.I miss all those timetables I made during my schooling which I used to stick on my almarih :)
Hiding in the wardrobe when mom scolds , so that she feels guilty when she can't find me :D
Paying hide n seek, trying mom's saree from the wardrobe in her absence and tearing it unintentionally giving a try to cooking at experimental kitchen …
Such beautiful memories attached to smells. It was as if I had relived my childhood. my heart felt heavy. Those days were never going to come back ...
My home. And in the process of growing up and running life errands I had forgotten the memories and fragrances, smells and stenches attached with my home..It was  where I could spot anything even when I was blindfolded.
it was then my heart was heavy with emotion for a simple word called home’. I had cribbed on hearing the topic at college but now it seemed perfect. I din’t know how I had lost the touch with my home..
It is not just a place where you live but where your family accepts and understands you.
It is the place where we grumble the most and yet are loved just the same.
Houses are made of pillars and beams.Homes are made of love and memories.And ofcourse dreams…
It was home where I grew up, step by step, day by day.. shared memories here, lived here, loved here, learned here.
It's my stage where I perform without any fright! I feel like a Rockstar with a future bright :-)
Such an idiot for not realizing the true worth and warmth of my home..The memories would definitely never be back but the scents, the fragrances, the memories will stay with us forever...
And finally when I had penned down all the memories and scents on the paper I happily looked for relevant photos to go with the project and pinned it up on my bulletin board . I had 2 hours left untill mom returned from her shopping spree with Di.
And then the thought of gifting something for the home where I felt safe, loved, cherished, pampered & cared for popped in my mind :)And I threw my hand bag across my shoulder, grabbed my cellphone and house keys . I was off to the mall. And this was what I bought for my dear dear home…
I love the fragrances Ambi Pur air fresheners pour..I grabbed 3 bottles of these and I was sure my home would be pleased to smell of Lavender,vanilla comfort, and citrus all the time :’D
And later in the evening when my mom came to kiss me good night I hugged her hard and she smiled back amused and not quite understanding of my sudden change…
Within 3 hours my project was ready and that night when I slept, I slept like a child....

This post is written for the Smelly to smiley contest by Ambipur on Indiblogger. Facebook page here
All the images above have been clicked by me.All rights reserved!


  1. I can relate to almost every memory of yours. Lovely blogpost.

  2. What an honest account ,
    All the best ,
    Thats me :


  3. lovely memories.... all the best :)