Between two pregnancies, I gave up perfume. I banned V from wearing certain scents. After the days of nausea passed, I found I didn’t quite appreciate perfume anymore. The fragrances I liked appeared to be coming from people’s body lotions. So these days I go with a scented body lotion, though the goodness does fade through the day.
I tried to list the things that set my nose of and my nerves tingling in a good way and I realised they are all tinged with nostalgia:
- Newborn baby smell, a combination of baby goodness, baby soap/lotion, and spit-up milk, which my kids no longer have.
- V’s perfume from way back when. I’m not sure which one it is (Issey Miyake?), but every time get a whiff of it, I’m transported back in time to when we were young and so in love and hot for each other.
- The smell of my late spaniel Zoya, particularly the spot where her long ears met her neck, and her chest.
- Ship smell, a combination of grease, air-conditioning and I don’t know what else. I’ve smelt it on land as well and I’m always taken back to the long marine journeys we did as kids on oil tankers.
- Bombay smell, the brine and shit combination of Mahim creek. In Hong Kong, we live a mountain away from a landfill and when the wind is blowing in a certain direction, we get a whiff that would make normal people hold their noses. But I breathe in deeply and think of where I came from, and my heart longs to go back.
- Daddy’s shirt smell, the smell of someone to lean on.
- Just cooked rice, particularly basmati
- First rain, or water on parched ground
- Paint, yeah, I have junkie in my genes
- Raat ki raani, another smell that takes me back to my roots
What are your favourite smells?