Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The story of olfaction !!

 Again, a memory flash-more so of the sense of smell than of sight-A hazy evening, darkness drawing close, dad returning from work, local market bustling with their evening produces,smell of samosa frying in the sweet shops,smoke rising-and my sense of smell tells me it’s from the clay furnaces or the “ chullah “...People who use them are lighting them up,getting ready for the evening’s cooking fare !! The smoke mixed with the dust and the pollution creates the haze,that has a peculiar,distinct smell-which is stuck deep inside my nostrils,perhaps for my lifetime…I love those hazy evenings,specially during those durga puja,when they combine with the smell of “ dhoop ( incense ) n dhuno ( a special variety of powdered incense which Bengalis associate with every kind of pujo- A earthen pot,with a handle,a funnel shape base with an open top- burning coal, charcoal or coconut husk is placed inside it and then the powdered incense mixed with camphor, is poured on top of it,which creates an aromatic white smoke )- Oh,how I love those engulfing smells and those hazy,smoggy evenings…And with each passing days,as they seem to move away farther and farther - I tend to keep pulling them closer to me,tighter to me….never to let go !!
And it’s strange how you can actually seem to long for things,for memories which you might have never created,long for a place you have never been to , long for a smell you have actually never inhaled…Something reminded me again of my haunting love for Wuthering Heights,of those Yorkshire moors,of those rolling valleys,of Heathcliff and Catherine-their consuming love,passion,dedication,longing …for each other.I was reading  Julie Andrews’ memoir..and I was aroused by how she described her first visit to the moors- “ North Country” she called that part of England…And I could relate to everything she said and described,as if I myself have been there so many times and belong to that part of the world-although I have only been there,only maybe a thousand times,in my mind,wandering the moors,filled with heather and gorse…sitting on the rocks,overlooking the thin-steepled churches,the low stone walls,the sleepy villages full of tiny cottages,the stone houses mightily braving the forceful biting winds…which keeps howling through the nights,in the haunting barrenness of the moorlands…. And as if I can smell all those foggy,dampness of the air in those vales
and hills ..and long for that intense passion that can come ,perhaps only,with those sights and smells.. …