The olfactory receptors register memories in a better and customized manner. A particular smell exudes a long-lost memory resting somewhere deep inside the mind. I’ve experienced it a number of times. Like the flickering of a bulb, the memories have come to take me away with them….to some lonesome afternoon or sometimes a cheerful visage makes my heart happy as it resurfaces from the days of the childhood.
Last week, I visited a friend’s house, a small one-storey one situated a little far away from the humdrum of the city. It was a great afternoon spent sitting in the cozy armchair with a cup of tea and homemade delicious onion fritters. A vast stretch of the sky was visible from the balcony at the backside of the house we were seated, two frangipani trees were cradling the cerulean beauty. The trees were blooming with flowers and the occasional whiff resuscitated my memories of days long past.
Summer vacation was that time of the year when I was supposed to spend a few days like a free bird with no strings attached. That is, no regular study, no mandatory maths during the afternoon, and to top it all, no constant supervising by maa. Yes, summer vacation meant visiting my maternal grandfather’s house with happiness and independence galore.
There was a small garden in front of the house and, that was my very own heaven. I used to observe the beetles climbing up the stems, gossamer web of spiders reflecting rainbows when were kissed by sunlight and, the unknown, unrecognised, beauty of tiny wildflowers.
My favourite spot in the whole garden was under a big frangipani tree. I had spent long summer afternoons with a book and a bowl of sliced raw mangoes sitting under that tree. That tree knew many a secret of a teenage girl…her joy and pain. That tree was aware of her first crush, Feluda, the super sleuth of Satyajit Ray. And, the smell. The intoxicating smell of frangipani…. mellow, mellifluous, mature.
That day at my friend’s place transported me under that tree. Unknowingly, I stopped talking as I kept staring at the flowery branches. She asked me about the abrupt silence. A mild jerk and I were back to the present. I nodded and smiled as to assure her.
Some memories, some moments, can be cherished only with your own self. Once shared, the enchantment is lost. Those childhood trinkets, let it be.