Monday, August 12, 2013
There is a particular fragrance that always brings back memories of my childhood days in Kolkata. My mother was extremely house proud and she would decorate the house with ferns and flowers every day. This was possible in a Kolkata flat because a flower seller climbed all the way up to our floor every morning to bring the flowers to our doorstep. There was no garden of flowers outside the block of flats, just some huge trees in the corners of the plot that provided shade.
My mother had studied Ikebana so several of the arrangements were of the ‘designer’ type. She had spiked iron holders in vases to hold the arrangements. Ferns and plants often curled their tops into loops and other forms to suit the requirements of this demanding style of flower arrangement.
But there was one area where simplicity reigned. In the hallway, there hung an oval mirror with a thick decorative brass frame. Just below this mirror there hung a long, polished wooden ledge. It was held by thick decorative brass chains on either side which were attached to the wall. In the centre of this wooden ledge and aligned with the mirror at the back, my mother placed a huge cut glass vase of Rajnigandhas every day. It reflected in all its beauty in the mirror. But I did not care for how beautiful it looked at that time.
All I cared for was the fragrance that assailed my nostrils when I entered the hallway. I would be hot, sweaty, smelly and tired from my day at school. The cool hallway and the smell of Rajnigandha was all that mattered to me then. The tall white flowers that filled the vase beckoned me. I would run up to the vase and breathe in deeply; and all balance would be restored for the time being.
Then of course, mother would be standing there, a glass of chilled lemonade in her hands. The smell of freshly squeezed lemon and the fragrance of Rajnigandha… that is what I remember with nostalgia. My mother’s hands smelled of lemon too as she placed the glass to my lips.
When I decorate my home with flowers, I place huge vases of Rajnigandha all over the place, and that works for me. This is a simple thing for me to do, it requires no art. But it reminds me of those hot afternoons filled with fragrance. All I have to do is make myself some chilled lemonade and stand in front of a vase of these beautiful white flowers. I am transported back to those carefree days when most things revolved around homework, hopscotch and a home filled with food, fun and flowers.
At the times when these real flowers with their particular perfume are not available for me, I wish I could spray the fragrance of Rajnigandha in my home. It would fill me with so much happiness and instant nostalgia.
This post is written for the contest at Indiblogger titled "Smellyto Smiley" for AmbipurIndia www.facebook.com/AmbiPurIndia