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.