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Age: 46-55

No title - this represents a collective memory

I find I tend to relate olfactory memories to experiences where smells act as triggers , sometimes visual experiences evoke olfactory memories and sometimes a sound can evoke an olfactory memory as the sensory experiences all seem to link back to a holistic sensory memory of all that I remember about something ...


The song ‘new york’ makes me recall my father’s cigarettes, his bourbon , Worn ( burgundy ) leather and the times spent with him at the jazz 100 club in London

The sight of climbing roses makes me think of freshly mown grass. Petrol-the lawn mower and suntan oil, as well as my mothered gardening gloves and the sweet sharp smell of the home made lemonade age maid the slightly musty smell of the wicker pic nic basket and the fresh linen smell of napkins. 

Oil smells of the garden shed and magazines and sun loungers - from the shed !
Going to the beach is the radio the picnic rug - smelling of cigar smoke or pipe tobacco - sweet tobacco as my grandad smoked in the shed!


Summer is baking , patchouli, strawberries, sweet oil- like Hawaiian tropic suntan oil my mum used- cliff Richard songs she played as well as leather and deep tones of jazz melodies and toasted almonds and copper whisky in crystal tumblers with clinking ice and smells of the sea and salt if you laid back on the blanket and closed your eyes in the sunshine - then cucumbers tomatoes and cheese from salads ...

- Nathalie Elwood

Taste of Scent

ROSEWATER fragranced ice cream
ORANGE BLOSSOM scent of jam and moustache wax
MIMOSA smell of ointment
JASMINE lather of Chinese soap
CARDAMOM crush of pudding
LIME chill of faloudeh
BERGAMOT aroma of tea
MINT muddle of sharbat
CILANTRO funk of koukou
SAFFRON sublimation of rice
CUMIN cohabitation with raisin
CORIANDER crunch of tahdeek
TURMERIC earth of broth
ANGELICA seeded pomegranate
HYACINTH scented Now Ruz table
ESFAND smoking the evil eye

- Maggie Mahboubian


The strewn plumeria

A sweet smelling fragrant flower offered to our lord Krishna who is also believed to love the fragrance of sweet smelling flowers lingers with me even now after 40 years. I vividly remember the plumeria that lay strewn on the ground where we played close to our house. My brother and his friends would play an old Indian game called Gilli Danda and my sister and I would be hanging around, playing games of our own.

A fun activity for My older sister and me was to collect freshly fallen plumeria flowers and make little rings out of the flowers by folding the petals backwards into the stem. We would feel elated wearing the rings ,smelling them and showing them off to everyone around. Even today the sight and the smell of the flower reminds me of my childhood games and the times with my sister and neighborhood friends. This memory is definitely as sweet as the scent of the flower!

- Hima Mehta


Coconut Hair Oil

Sunday was the day we got to wash our hair. It was a production for the girls of our extended family - about 5 in all - cousins, siblings all living together in an old adobe house in Ahmednagar, India. To wash our long black hair (not one of us had short hair) - we got 2 buckets of water instead of one. We took turns because there was only one bathroom. We took turns because it took a while for the water to get heated up in the big pot in the yard. Each one of us then sat in the yard air-drying our hair and finishing up homework. 

Sunday evening was the time to oil up while watching the weekly family movie on TV. Moms sat on the floor or the couch with coconut hair oil in a blue bottle. Parachute Hair Oil! In the winter this was warmed up on the stove just a bit. The girls then got a hair oil massage – the hair parted in several places and a sliver of coconut oil placed in the parting and your mum's fingers doing the quick back and forth, up and down. It was a leisurely exercise away from the bustle of the kitchen. Unoiled hair was not allowed in school – girls needed to braid their hair and wear either black or red ribbons at the end of the braid.

Everything smelled of coconut oil Sunday evening. Your mum's hands, your hair, your sister's hair, your pillow, the living room and the couch. The intimacy of these evenings stays with me as the smell fades only to come back overwhelmingly when 35 years later my mum asks me over skype if I've oiled my hair lately – I can smell the coconut oil and I tell her about how coconut oil has become the new good fat! Why I just smeared it on my toast this morning with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper!

- Bhavna Mehta


Hospital Food

Strangely enough my scent memory of time in the hospital has to do with home cooked food. My mum and I spent 6 weeks in a Bombay hospital after a major surgery for me when I was 18. Every midmorning my uncle would arrive carrying a tiffin with our lunch cooked by my aunt. If you know anything about Bombay (now Mumbai) - getting from one place to another is a nightmare. But he came everyday, spent a few minutes with us and then took another bus to go to his office. The food was simple and nourishing and ive just realized that I haven't described a single smell. Think tumeric, yogurt, whole wheat tortillas, ginger and cloves.

- Bhavna Mehta