Sense Memory

Sometimes the power of sense memory can stop you in your tracks. My sister and I had gone to get a thali at Samosa House as a Sunday treat. While waiting we walked around the store browsing and smelling as we went. Towers of dhoop, cooking food with turmeric and curry surrounded us like an embrace after what was a trying week. Just as we walked up to another shelf full of goodies my sister stopped in her tracks. I heard her say “I think I’m going to cry” but didn’t know she meant it literally until I looked over and tears were rolling down her face as she smelled a box of Hawan Samagri (a blend of 51 ingredients ranging from rose and sandalwood to lobaan and neem used in a havan). “It’s devastating”, she said. “Just devastating.” Leila lived in India in her 20s and she said that it smelled like hope and a whole range of feelings that she had forgotten even existed. “It smelled like when things were possible. Before I got sick.”
She says it smelled like walking down the street and that when she got back to the US how shocking it was that it didn’t smell or sound like anything at all. The mix of smells in India were by contrast loud and living; even the fumes of diesel, stale deep fry left over from samosa vats, fake gold leaf, goolab jaman, and rotting vegetables, every incense imaginable nag champa, ariculatum, fake rose and sandalwood, brewing chai, open sewage, over ripe mangoes. This sense memory didn’t just stop her in her tracks, didn’t just make her cry, it transported her for a moment back to this joy of being young in such a dynamic and alive place and the possibilities that seem endless. In a whiff the hope of falling in love, paths not yet taken, streets to walk down and smell and experience.
#livingperfume #naturalperfume #sensorytravel #hawansamagri#sandalwood #aloes #rose #neem #curry #tumeric #chai #india#sensememory #samosahouse #samosahousela

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