A significant childhood memory that I associate with scent is that of a special lentil curry made by my maternal grandmother (or ‘nani’ as we call her). I love my grandmother’s cooking and not only is it an extremely satisfying meal but also an instant mood elevator.
A regular day at school was long, hot and filled with lots of activity. By the time I got back home, I would be exhausted, cranky and famished. I used to be a fussy eater and my tantrums about the lunch made at home were a regular occurance in the house. The scenario would be quite different of course, if I got a wiff of a hot and sweet aroma of the curry my nani (who stays two minutes away) made and sent home , steaming hot, right before I got home.
The sight of that of a little container with a tiny handle on top (so that it can be carried like a handbag) and the aroma of the lentil curry doesn't cease to please me even today. This curry has distinct flavors of roasted cumin and mustard seeds, curry leaves, raw mango and chilli. Jaggery, an important part of our native cooking (which I’m normally not fond of) is also a vital ingredient in this dish. It is a dish typically made by people coming from the state of Gujrat in India. The dish smells of all these flavors and a lot of love. This poured over steaming hot rice was and still is easily one of my favorite scents and meals. It’s a scent I associate to home, warmth and Nani’s soft hands and warm cuddles.
- Aditi Mehta