When it comes to nostalgic fragrances, the smell of the Mehendi…enters my mind. Weddings, especially Indian Weddings are events of great grandeur. And those moments are always golden. I remember one such wedding and the smells that made their marks in my memory, forever.
Right from the imported bathing kit we got for my Aunt to the garlands of flowers that were placed on her bed…smelled expensive. Oh yeah,that’s when her Mother brought in the neat pile of silk saris and placed it atop the bed. The one’s on the top smelled of jute-silk and that was for us, bridesmaids…but the lowermost one was he queen of all the saris…the rich fragrance of crisp silk zari had us all sitting around it to touch it for our own. The bride was still bathing so we could obviously get a sneak peek. Once we sated our curiosity we explored the gifts from the Groom’s side…everything from strawberry-flavored lip balm, floral perfumes, sandalwood talc, lavender oils to nail enamels!
We unpacked the stuff quickly, in-time for the Bride to step out and start getting ready. I opened up the bridal magazine(one of the many)…as we had decided to be her beauticians, we had better brushed ourselves up on the techniques and designs. The glossy smell of the magazines always sent me tingling. And I especially love those perfume patches on which who you rub your wrists to sample the fragrance.
Once the bride was out, we began the task of making her look as lovely as possible. And that task lasted a steady three hours, after which we found ourselves all sweaty and not-so-bridesmaid-ish. I smelled my palm and was astonished by the odor that hit me…everything from the lunch I fed the bride to the lacquer I applied to her nails. Hard-work often gave off weird scents.
The gardens outside were all lit up with fairy lights and it smelled of the rain showers that had thankfully bid us goodbye and freshly mowed grass…and the earthy smell of wet soil.
the guests had started to arrive while I was still loafing around in jammies. The smell of rosewater and spicy musk filled the entrance hall. A plethora of smells, to tell you the truth, because everybody wore a different fragrance. I hit the kitchen for a much-needed caffeine boost. Just the smell of freshly ground coffee sent me in a daze. And there were always delicious smelling jalebis, samosa and paranthas, up for grabs. After devouring my share of calories, I bounded upstairs and locked myself in my room. The band baaja , squealing kids, excited guests…all those crazy sounds were done with. I threw myself onto my bed…and I remember this smell distinctly…the scent of old books, fabric conditioner and well, me. And sometimes, chocolates. I quickly took a shower and got myself dressed up for my Aunt’s Big Day. And I went downstairs…the air was filled with the fragrance of incense sticks, the smoke from the havan kund, ghee, flowers and all the items they used for rituals…
The Great Wedding proceeded and as the Bride left our place to accept her Husband’s home as her own, she took away the Wedding Fragrances with her. And it had been beautiful.
Everything we do, is associated, in one way or the other, to smells…be it bad odors or fragrant perfumes. They either trigger emotions like hunger or repulsion…or memories…like the ones where we remember a certain episode in our lives.