Tuesday, October 10, 2023


I have learned the profoundness of the term "discontinued". Also its multifacetedness, and how it fits, given the context of my current situation – oscillating between nostalgia and bittersweetness of the bygone days. This term alone encapsulates the complexity of my emotions associated with these two. I question myself if I feel a sense of detachment or wistful longing...but I am not sure. But, both are symbolic: of something I've had to let go of and something I am holding onto.

2011  Lost in Fantasy

The scent that gave me butterflies...

If my memory serves me right, probably my first. Probably, one of a kind, irreplaceable, most cherished, my only one (ironically). Sometimes evoking memories of a stroll through a lush garden, and a distant flowerbed, after a refreshing rainfall and with a hint of sunshine. Sometimes evoking an impression of walking through a fruit and flower market. And, sometimes, suddenly when it would turn too hot, summoning an image of serene blue skies and a freshwater stream. Recreating and testifying to the inconstancy of the cosmos...sunny this moment and starts pouring the next. One scent, one thousand memories. This scent will always keep those few evenings alive in my mind. A thousand images rummage through my mind when I recall those moments and revisit the fragrance of time. 

2017  Madurai Jasmine and Mogra

The disappointment is deeper, and unreal, than I'd be able to express because it no longer resembles discovering and associating experiences with scents. It has surpassed the superficiality and attained depth; it is more of a devotion – an incomprehensible devotion. Something I am still holding onto...because I do not know how to give up. Someday, whatever is left will evaporate. 
This memory is no longer associated with serene skies but with cold water-doused jasmine garlands an offering in temples  white, soft, clean fabric brushing against freshly washed skin; early morning visit to the temple; ringing of bells and sound of conch shell (shankh naad); fragrance of night-blooming jasmine fallen on wet earth, dying in the morning air; of sitting immersed in a shallow river while it rains. 

Sometimes reminding me of a scent from when I was four – J's smell after she took a bath and her feathers still damp. This reminds me of J.

Preciousness of this association was realised too late, almost like an epiphany of a dream sequence that makes no sense to the rational mind. It came in with waves of sadness too. Last dregs of perfume, which now smell a little boozy, are all I am holding onto. This one's not discontinued but reformulated. The reformulation hits with a hint of rose, woody accord and lacks the marine note as the previous one. It is not as dewy. In my attempt to get used to the reformulation, I wore it 24/7. Every time I got a whiff, I couldn't shake off the feeling of something missing. I will never like the reformulation, no matter how much I try. 

While the first scent was associated with the whirlwind of newness and discovering emotions, the second one relied on silence, settling the commotion of thoughts. 

Some days I get a whiff from the cap of the old bottle and draw that there is more to this fragrance than I realise...