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Ahmednagar India

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


Nani's dal (Grandmother's lentil)

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