Fragrant Memories

My childhood summer vacations have been special for no special reasons. There were no adventures neither were there any misadventures. Most of my summer vacations were spent in a sleepy little town called Waradha in Maharashtra, India at my maternal grandparents’ abode. The town in summers is ablaze in scorching heat. But that somehow is something I remember the least. What I remember is the small things, like the fresh roses that my grandfather tended to with his heart and soul rendering the garden in a riot of colors every summer. I remember the distinct taste of the dal that is elsewhere irreproducible. I remember the unbearably hot evenings made survivable by a glass of cool water from the earthen pots.

Over the past few years I have deduced, I associate memories to fragrances. I always remember the times close to my heart based on the perfume or deo I wore at that time. One of my earliest experiences is when I went on a holiday with my parents to Rajasthan. I associate that trip with the Lomani deo spray. The time I went to Germany a year back is associated with the Avril Lavigne perfume Black Star. Some silly childhood crushes are related with some Nike sporty perfumes and some other times I associate with United Colors of Benetton. We can safely establish from this incessant rant  that my long-term memories and olfactory senses have a deep-rooted connection.

If you are trying to connect the two rants above, here goes! I was driving back from office today when I smelt something very familiar (get the connection 😉 ), a fragrance which freshened a long-lost memory. It was a fragrance of a very familiar talcum powder. My grandfather was sort of disciplinarian, well, not so much towards us, but he was quite strict with his children and my grandmother. He had asked my grandmother to finish a chore which she had forgotten in her umpteen million other household chores. She only remembered towards late evening, very close to the time my grandfather got back from his clinic.

Back then Waradha was a very simple town, so much so, that there were very few auto rickshaws. Most of the public conveyance took place via cycle rickshaws. Me and my cousins used to always look forward to these silly little escapades. As soon as we became aware of an impending rickshaw ride, me and my cousin rushed to get ready for our surprise expedition. We were washed, powdered (this is where the fragrance kicked in), puffed and combed and suddenly we were transformed from sweaty, muddy rugrats to  shiny, fluffy kittens and before my grandmother could deny we were tagging along with her. We got into the creaky cycle rickshaw driven by an even creakier old man. I was something of a chatterbox back then ( 😉 ) and I was being my usual self, blabbering away to glory when my grandmother shushed me. The cycle rickshaw driver was reeking of alcohol and my grandmother was terrified and could not wait to get her precious little kittens back to the warm safety of our home.

These little feats are what made my childhood memories rich and fragrant. They may not seem very interesting, adventurous or flamboyant , but they were fun, cheerful and priceless possessions which make my childhood worth living and reliving.


  1. ranu802r · October 9, 2012

    I think childhood memories are the best and most enjoyable.I loved reading about the creaky rickshaw and creakier old man driving it. That was the funniest part. childhood is the best part of our life.We have no worries, we have a good time. They are the ones we never forget I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post.

    • ThoughtsUnrestricted · October 9, 2012

      Thanks a ton ranu…your commenst means a lot 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed a trip down my memory lane 🙂

  2. Rakhal · October 9, 2012

    That is beautifully written and so very nostalgic, Sheetal! Somewhat like the fragrant ‘jaai’ (or ‘jui’, I can’t tell the diff) vel near the verand! It took me back to Wardha and on a fragrance trip of my own. Thanks for the trip!

    • ThoughtsUnrestricted · October 9, 2012

      Rakhal mama thank you so much. I could rekindle your memories means a lot!
      Really happy you enjoyed this post 🙂

  3. Diwakar Narayan · October 9, 2012

    aha! memories are really like fragrances. 🙂

  4. shivprasad · October 9, 2012

    there are moments in life, which when we pas by at our older age, we try to make a resemblence of our childhood. May be the childrens playing on the street or may be their queries which we fall dumb at times. You know even in present days, at every small instance we try to find all those tiny hidden memories and happiness.
    You have nicely narrated the same.

  5. Yoganand · October 10, 2012

    Sheetal, good piece of work! Though I left Wardha in 1984 for my studies and then job; I still live there and can remember the finest details. Just in the morning today I was talking to Maa, where the particular thing used to be kept!

    Its lovely to know that you remember Wardha days though your association was not more than a weak or two every summer! Thats make it more special!!

    • ThoughtsUnrestricted · October 13, 2012

      Thanks a lot nandu mama..I cannot imagine how much you must be missing Wardha!

  6. conserving quirky · October 13, 2012

    Nicely written.I guess most of our,Indians’ treasured memories esp in the summer vacations are associated with our grandparents…miss those day!
    I just wished I had read this before we saw what we saw today 😛

    • ThoughtsUnrestricted · October 13, 2012

      I am really so thankful I wrote this before watching what we did today! :O
      Otherwise this post would not had seen the light of day 😛
      and thank you off course! 🙂

  7. Tatsat · October 22, 2012

    The post resonates with those who have had such amazing summer vaccations, and I am not an exception either 🙂 A couple of years back I lost my maternal grand-father while I was college and I still feel him around whenever I read english poetry ( which basically is every day ). He tried to interest me in the subject, failed miserably till his last moment.

    Incredible correlation by the way. I have known, and I have read, about people associating incidents with pictures mostly. But this is refreshing. Academics and psychology apart, I would never have been able to narrate the incident this good.
    Keep it up 🙂 Will be coming around for more.

  8. yoganand barve · October 26, 2012

    thanks sheetal tuzya wardhyachya athavani vachun & tya tula itakya japun thevanyaitakya sundar vatatat he vachun khup anand zala tuzyabarobar tu malahi khup mage gheun gelis kharokhar hyanchya barobarche te wardhyache divas khup sukhache hote jari dada far ragit & kadak hote tari tyanchi sagalyachi kalaji ghenyachi padhat hoti & tyatun tyanche sagalyanchyaprati prem janawayche agadi sadhe & shant divas hote te achha parat ekada thanks tula tuzi maa

  9. mindpages · December 11, 2012

    Childhood memories make you fresh.

    Like you said, they may not have anything adventureous about them, but they make you time travel. To times that were a beautiful part of ones life..a part that will never come back…..moments that you will never re-live.

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