Thursday, August 29, 2013

Take me back to those good ol' days

David Leavitt once said "Childhood smells of perfumes and brownies".

Nostalgic smells are the one which trigger intense happy memories. It happens to us all. Even a mere whiff of a familiar aroma finds one walking down the memory lane. Surprisingly, each aroma unlocks a particular chamber of unique memories, forgotten over time, and yet amazingly fresh and clear at every recollection.

The prominent smells I relate to my childhood are :-

My Mom  :-  The natural fragrance of my mom. It was a unique and engaging fragrance that also exuded absolute love, warmth and immeasurable comfort. Mom would tuck us in every night and lie beside us reading “Panchatantra” stories. My special memories of her fragrance were of me hugging her tighter and snuggling closer, knowing I was in the safest place on earth. I often sense this fragrance and her memories. Maybe, here, the memory triggers the fragrance.

Freshly made Paranthas (pancakes) with dollops of butter/ghee   :-  My daily “Good Morning” aroma. Mom would start cooking early to prepare breakfast and lunch boxes for the household (four schoolgoing girls). I always woke up to the most appetizing and mouthwatering mornings – the sweet and heady aroma of wheat flour Paranthas being cooked with ghee and laden with homemade white butter. The lunchboxes prepared by mom never felt weighed down by the calories she packed in them. Sadly, Paranthas don’t taste or smell that yummy anymore.

“Old Spice” after shave   :-  The fragrance of my Dad’s room every morning. I was totally enamored with the masculine fragrance of the after shave and, at times, would use it on myself. One day a good looking neighbor asked if I was wearing a men’s perfume and ended my hush-hush affair with “Old Spice”. But the fragrance stays on in me.

New Study Books   :-  The smell that heralded start of the new academic year. New session at School/College started with us receiving dozens of new books. Each fresh book had a peculiar sweet smell. I would love to smell the book before getting down to studying it. Even today the similar smell in any book transports me back to those years of books, books and books.

First Rain of the Monsoons   :-  The buoyant scent of first showers on parched hot earth. We have a word for it - “Petrichor”. I guess everyone loves this smell and the moments which indicate the departure of oppressive summers and arrival of refreshing monsoons. I had a special reason to love this smell. It meant that, at last,  I had the long awaited license to play in the rains unmindful of dirt and filth.

Maggi Noodles :-  The liberating sense of Freedom. “Maggi” could only be cooked at home when my parents were not around, which meant that the fort was ruled by the princesses of the kingdom.  The other freedoms that came with “Maggi” were jumping/dancing on the beds, using mom’s makeup and all sorts of fun/uproarious laughter.

Pears Soap   :-  The mild and refreshing scent of Dad’s bath. He uses the same soap to this day. A mere hint of that smell is enough to take me back to those childhood days at our house in Kolkata and my Dad’s bath.

Napthelene Balls   :-  The wistful smell of clothes and almirahs. The smell has a special place in my childhood memories, though I equally disliked the times associated with it. It would be the tiring annual “Diwali” ritual of cleaning. I loved the memories of us sisters getting to see all of my mom’s old sarees and lehengas. The more wonderful memory is of us sneakily trying on those dresses and dancing around in them till discovery by a screaming Mom. I remember her being very possessive about the wedding lehenga. No I know why.

“Parle Orange” Toffees   :-  The tangy orange smell of Mom’s locker. She always kept these candies in her locker. The smell would spread to the house everytime she opened the locker. My sisters and I would immediately run to her for our share of those delights. None of the present day lavish delights can ever match those simple toffees, with their priceless memories.

Garlic    :-  The aroma of my Dadisa’s (Grandmother) yummy “chutney”. This was one delicacy that she would send specially for me. And I never fell short of doing it the adequate justice. To everyone’s amazement I would finish the huge box within a week. Not surprisingly, my son is a huge fan of garlic chutney too.

Parachute Coconut Oil   :-  The aroma of weekly head massage. Weekly once, Mom would get comfortable on the couch with us sisters lined up ahead sitting on the floor. And then would start 30 minutes of non-stop head massage with warm coconut oil. The entire house, its occupants and its contents would smell of coconut oil. Or was that just me? For, I smelled coconut oil everywhere.

Similar occurrences of these moments today will seem mundane and ordinary now. They surely were just that during those childhood days. But they are priceless and special for they are the memories of those times which are long gone to never return. The present and its demands does relegate these cherished memories to some corner of the brain. And then, during the course of the day, some fragrance or smell brings forth the specific memory from its exact corner in the brain. And they are always found fresh and intense.

It is amazing how our brains can store so much information from so long ago, regardless of its significance, and even more amazing how we can replay these moments by merely capturing molecules into our nose.

I love the smell of...
Parathas fresh from the pan
even the smell of "Old spice" man
Orange toffees makes me a kid again
Smell of books is like oxygen to my brain

Smell of fresh rains
make me wanna jump with joy
Smell of Maggi noodles reminds me
my mom's make-up was my favorite toy

The scent of soap 
from my dad's bath
The smell of old clothes
Pushes me into the nostalgic path

But the smell I miss most
the one that make me feel calm
It's non of the above
It's the amazing smell of my MOM

The above post is written for the Ambi Pur's Smelly to Smiley contest powered by Ambi Pur and Indiblogger

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Life : Lets make it count

I sit on the footpath
I wonder what seem different
As I watch others and do the math
I see smiles that are still unspent

Everybody seems in a perpetual hurry
People running here and there
All they do is whine and worry
and call the god's gift (life) unfair

If only they could understand
Life is nothing but an adventure
and nothing in it is pre-planned
It's a risk of joint-venture

So lets just free ourselves
move forward with a special hand in our hand
Jig-saw puzzle is all we need to solve
  for all pieces to fall in place as planned.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kitty Party misfits

Kitty Party 

Sounds more like catty party to me. Women, who look so sweet and normal whenever u meet them be it inside the elevator or in the park...But in such parties they change... like werewolves change during full moon nights. They can be viciously bitchy and catty(Now that's a good combo ;) ) Here is the detailed account of my first and hopefully last Kitty Party.

Anuja (my best friend) - Renu you need to join this Kitty party

I -         Why should I? I am pretty happy the way I am right now.

Anuja - Yeah living like a bum. No housewife actually lives like the way you do, all the time in t-shirt and pyjamies. You need to meet some normal people.

I -       I object to that I am very much normal and my friends are very much normal, thank you. 

Anuja -  Yeah if normal actually means being friends with people most probably you'd never meet and liking statuses and writing rubbish, than yeah you are normal. I don't want to hear anything please .Be ready by noon sharp and dress up in salwar kameez or a pair of jeans with some fancy top. Please do put on some make-up and remember to comb your hair. 

I-          Yeah Yeah mommy. FYI I always comb my hair. My hair is unruly.


Around Noon I was ready and waiting for Anuja to come. She came all decked up like a doll. I looked very plain compared to her. She took out her lip gloss and foundation...and she started working on me and then she frowned looking at my jeans and a cotton top. 

Anuja - Cldn't you wear something good? Why do you have to make matters difficult.

I - I am wearing my brand new top. I got it from Provogue. Thankfully I don't look like a rainbow the way u do... all colours in one dress.

Anuja (rolling her eyes) - Never mind lets go. 

The Kitty Party was being held on the 5th floor @ Sharmaji's. I could smell Pau Bhajji (okay, kitty party is not really that bad...yay). The door was open and we went inside.I like a tag-along stood in the corner with a super fake smile on my face and Anuja like a perfect sociallite goes out air kissing all women present. We live in the same apartment building and I hardly know most of their names and there are few faces I didn't even know lived in our building (Shame on me) Anuja was right I should get out more often and try to know people around me.

Okay, there are 7 women let me see how many I know.

1.Yummy mummy (Shes very pretty ,hardly looks like mother of two) 

2.Mommy number 1 (She's like a know all and she's the only woman member of society's management committee.)

3.Hot headed mommy (I 've seen her thrashing her kid. She scares me too)

4. Bobby (I know her as my child and her children go in the same bus)

5. Aarti Sharma ( The lady who made Pau Bhajji)

6 and 7 I've never met.

Mommy No. 1 : You are Renu right... who lives on the 17th floor ?

I : Yeah, that's me. (I keep my fake smile intact)

Hot headed Mommy : I have seen you taking your walks in the eveining.

I : (I continue smiling)

Yummy mummy : You walk?? You seemed to have gained weight though.

I : (nod...she doesn't look that yummy anymore. I think I just saw wrinkles ..fangs and claws..;)

Anuja (my savior) : She writes and few of her works even got published.

Hot headed mommy : We have a celebrity amongst us ??

6 (the most sensible one) : Where exactly has it got published

I : Nothing really great it's just a short story in an anthology. (When would they serve pau bhajji . So that I could have it and leave)

Anuja (please stop talking) : Even in an E magazine.

Mummy no. 1 : Who reads E magazine??? Who has the time?

I : Yeah you are right, no one reads e magazine (Why bother explaining !)


Yummy Mummy (flashing her very manicured and polished fingers) :How do u guys take out time for anything. It's been ages that I have been to the parlor.

Mother no. 1 : My mother in law is making my life terrible. She is such a pain

Lady no. 7 : Same here and my mom-in-law is more partial towards my sister-in-law. She keeps praising her at the same ime pulling me down.

Bobby : Relax sweetheart. Always remember she is a mother-in-law and not your mother.

Anuja : Aww  (She got up to hug her)

Mother no. 1 (turned towards me..why do i feel I am appearing for my Viva test) : Even you live in a joint family. How are your in-laws? 

I wonder what should I say. I look at that really sad Lady no. 7 , I couldn't possibly gloat how great my mother-in-law is. Nor can I pull the pull the poor lady down, she's been a very good friend. All eyes were on me.

I : We donot really interfere in each other's work. She has a life of her own and I have mine. 

Lady no. 6 :  Aarti , Anuja and Myself are lucky. No woman ; No cry.

That is cool. She knows about my favourite Band Boney M. I should try to be friends with her.

Aarti : My work never ends. I am tired now. I made spring rolls for you guys and Pau Bhajji. I hope you like it. 

Anuja : Oh you are such a good cook. We always look forward to your kitty.

Her cook brings in spring rolls. I take my roll. It does taste very well. God! this lady is truly talented. We like a hungry lot finish the rolls in second. After that the main course was served. Pau Bhajji. I loved it. It was amazing. I am a decent cook but can never cook anything with such perfection.

Yummy Mummy : I should not eat so much we are going out for a holiday. Just my hubby and me and she winked.

Hubby from her lips sounded more like hobby. I rather call husband than hubby. and that wink made me squirm?

Hot Headed Mommy : Oh you are going out on your second honeymoon.

Bobby : Renu, you could talk to her after she returns from her holiday maybe you too could write something like 50 shades of grey ....she too winks at me.

Aarti : I just tried flavored condoms. It's real fun. 

The sex related topic got maximum participation. It was nice that talking abt sex/ love making was no more a taboo. But I miss the days when they were a taboo.  frankly these talks did make me uncomfortable. 

I got up to throw my paper plate inside the kitchen. Aarti ran behind me. But I don't like to give my used to plates to anyone. So I went inside the kitchen and opened the dust-bin to throw paper-plate..and guess what it had empty boxes of a restaurant with bhajji still on them and ready to cook boxes of spring roll. Aarti looked at me and she looked guiltily at me.

I - Don't worry your secret is safe with me. 

Aarti - Thank you so much Renu 


Hot headed mommy -  How come megha didn't turn up?

Mother no. 1 -  Must be doing her laundry. She always has so much of laundry to do. 

Yummy mummy - I can't wash clothes I am allergic to soap. 

Again she flashed her Red nails. Again went ignored. I really felt sorry for her.

Mother no. 1 - Did you know the Shagun bhansali's husband lost his job. I have evn head they are selling their house. So if you are interested you could call her up, just don't tell her I told you.

I knew people wld do anything to do be the last person talking. But walking over someone's sorrows is inhuman.

I ( Lost my cool) - How could you do that? You have that information because she trusted you. 

I looked at Anuja with disgust and got up to leave. 

Aarti - Renu please stay we'r about to play tambola.

I - I don't play money games you guys have fun. Thank you for the lovely party.

And I was about to leave when I heard... 

Hot headed mommy - I told you she was a snob.

Before I could reach the lift Anuja came out too. 

Anuja : We'll start our own Kitty Party.

I: But we won't name it Kitty Party

Anuja : We'll name it LMAO

I : LMAO ???

Anuja : Laughing My Ass Off

I: You should have seen your expressions. U still have that constipated look though. 

We finally left that horrible terrible party..... never to return back again.