Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I am very fond of perfumes. I think I have a sample each of most of the world's best brands and I treasure them the way I treasure my books. My morning ritual of dressing up is complete only when I finish dabbing the perfume on my pulse points. If I am going out when Rasan is home, she will insist on my picking up the landline telephone receiver and putting it near my ear so that it can catch the current fragrance on it for the day. Rasan says, "That way, Mama, I can still smell you when you are gone. Whenever I pick up the receiver and dial your number, I get the feeling that you are close by." When she kisses me bye, she inhales the smell and says, it will stay on with me. She is no poet, she has no poetic expression so to say. The expression is that of a child missing her mother and thats it. But that never fails to shake the poet inside me to wakefulness to think how she feels.

I dont remember my mother ever using any perfumes. (Now I like Davidoff Cool Water Woman on her). Never saw any in her treasured red and black rexine 'shingar box' or the painted glass square box filled with the little stuff of her memories that did not mean much to me then but which I used to love rummaging through whenever I would get an opportunity. Perhaps she did use some talcum powder occasionally. But, even now, when I hug her, when I go close to her, I get to smell the same fragrance that I used to inhale when I was lying next to her, talking. Or when she would hug me briefly as a 'shabash'. I don't know what that fragrance is. Perhaps it is the smell of her compact face powder that gets into all her personality. But it always gives out a feeling of being in a comfort zone, where God was and is in his heaven, and all was and is well with my world.

My mother-in-law emanates a different kind of fragrance. Of course fragrances cannot be explained but I associate her with a great fragrance of Nivea Deodorant spray. I recall a funny incident that took place about ten years back. My regular shopping list would include an adventurous foray into the newly arrived "phoren" body sprays in my favorite general store in Jalandhar Cantt. One day Mama ( my mother-in-law) happened to be with me when I was selecting a spray for myself. She was not into such fragrances or sprays then. She said in a low voice in my ear," Roz nahaya karo ta ehdi lod na pawey." I blinked at her naughty comment and we laughed. A few years later, I found Nivea spray in her almirah and I wanted to shout out laughing. Well, for obvious reasons !! The position now is, that she cannot live without one. If she happens to catch me encroaching upon her spray, she would reprimand me promptly and I cant help but laugh. She and I share a private joke about it everytime I see her spraying it post shower. Coming back to her fragrance, everytime I go near her, I get to smell that innocent fresh fragrance. And yet, I associate that smell with inspiration, gusto and courage.

The other day I came across an anecdote in an old issue of Reader's Digest. An airwoman would come to a store every few days and go to a particular fragrance counter, smell the tester and go back. One day the saleswoman asked her if she would like to buy that perfume. The former replied that she did not want to buy it, she merely came to smell her mother's fragrance whenever she missed her. Upon reading that piece, a smile automatically came to my mind and I thought of Rasan grown big, perhaps living far away and totally into her career, going to a store and smelling some of my pet fragrances, just to make up for my physical absence.


Anonymous said...

awww..how sweet..now this emanates my didi. i am so glad u wrote this piece..it is the little things in life that create mementos for the future. i think that is sweet that rasan asks u to pick up the landline phone...lol..ok...great post..i will comment more later..busy at work:)

Sukh Bajwa (i'm too lazy to sign in and sign it as majajan_jatti:)

Anonymous said...

it was touching to read it. i was with my mother in hospital,she has to undergo a surgery. u made me feel,the love that i have for her. mothers in themselves are the fragrance of love,sacrifice,warmth and much much more... u made a good effort to describe a mothers unending presence in ones life. M.I.SINGH

Sidhusaaheb said...

I agree with your mother-in-law's comment, even if she does not, herself.


Anonymous said...

well u forgot to mention jai...........remember when he was young n u cme to jaipur u use to wear a certain brand of perfume by revelon i still remeber da smell n whenever he use to sleeep i use to insist dat i hold him but when he finally cme to me he wud smell me in a breath or two n then start cryin for u reason he did get the same n known smell......i finally got to hod him for one full journey the day i wore ur perfume smelled like you..........he got his mothers fragrance n was sound asleep.....i knw i cn still feel mom close to me when i smell baby powder.loved it n only a mother or a daughter can understand it nicely written bravo again

man u should write a book or something

love you all

Manpreet said...

Thank you sukh, you made a record of pouncing on the write up within moments of its being posted, kudos to you,
Mahesh, I know how u been feeling for the past few days, and i know how this write up co-incided with Mama's surgery. But as I said, i associate her fragrance with strength.
Sidhu, I conveyed your comments to her and she smiled, the best smile she gave, even under sedation, upon coming out of the OT after her surgery
Gunna, its great you remembered it. and also brought it on record, otherwise the family heritage of this one incident would have been lost.

Sumanto said...

Good, very good, really soul-stirring. You touch us with your simple, frank words. Years ago, we used to ready such crispy 'middles' in the Times of India. I liked it. Call it the "Scent of a Woman." - Sumanta K Bhowmick

Anonymous said...

grt. di.,
after reading this, u really kiked me to my melodious "BACHPAN". my memories related with mom. even she was found of branded perfumes which she used to carried forward frm her friend at Vancouver BC. just amazing fragnance , even now i m feeling it.hhmmmmmmmmmm..........!waho?.

earle in d morning, when she was just away to leave for duty, she used to kiss my forehead and then pick me in her soft arms and just past me to my naani maa. the moment she passed me, she is free to move but, i was used to pass the whole day with my naani maa in intution of my mom, just because of her fragnance
(Really the presence of mother in her absence" FRAGNANCE"
grt.job, really appri. ur work n thanks to rasan , who inspire u to do so.


harpreet said...

I remembered my moms beautifully done up face and her silk sarees Idont remember if she used a perfume but I know her smell so well.
Manpreet great writing.Keep it up.Happy friendship day.Hope you got my SMS.I said thet I would reply later but I was so tempted when I read it again.

Anonymous said...

this article was so touching....i really love my mother (ofcourse everybody does) n i am really close to her but this piece of writing made me realise something that i had not realised till date.Though my mom does not wear a perfume but i can still smell the fragnance of unconditional love when she is around.You write really well. Must write a book.

Manpreet said...

Sumanto, You are encouraging as always. Thanks. I think the middles in the newspapers are inspired by life, and so are our talks. My blog is nothing more than a talk with all my friends and family.
Gopika, thanks yaar, finally you did manage to get back to my blog and read it. Its amazing how everybody (well almost) remembered their mother.
So Sumanto, I have named it rightly as the Fragrance of Mothers,instead of scent of a woman, kya kehtey ho?
Rohit, your mom is one hell of a wonderful woman who has been so strong that you wre brought up as a good human being. Thats where her fragrance lies too, agreed?
Harpreet, I forgot to mention that my mother also used to wear saris, and part of that memorable fragrance also recalls the rustle of a sari, her jura, her spectacles, her brisk walking style. Thanks for coming here and sharing.

Taran said...

Fragrances is so true every person has a particular aura fragrace. Whenever we think of that person we smell then even in their absence.
Taran Grewal.

Rajindarjit said...

When God thought that He cannot be in Person everywhere, He made a Mother.
Remembering a mother through her Fragrance is a great Tribute to Motherhood.
When u were little people know u as my daughter.
Today I can say proudly, that in your circle I am known as your mother.
It was a memorable time for me, when at Tughalwala, you were being
honoured on Teacher's Day for a Write Up.
May God bless u with more honours in the times to come.
Keep it up.

Nishtha Saxena said...

probably d best one..
i really really like it..

Roop Rai said...

haaye, how absolutely wonderful. :)) i got coolwater's essence from egypt btw ... the essence that's used in coolwater!! :) 100% hardcore stuff ... no alchohol.

Roop Rai said...

and of course the second one:

u are in Jalandhar Cantt!!

Devaki said...

Hey, that's such a sweet anecdote Manpreet! It's the same with me - I always think of my nani when I smell Johnson's Baby powder! Don't ask me why, but that was her favorite! :-)

Manpreet said...

Taran: Fragrances sometimes make up for the absence.

Mama: Its all the magic of that fragrance. Miss you.

Nishtha: Glad you liked it.

Roop: I wish to rob you of Cool Water, but on a second note, I would let it be with you. As a tribute to sharing of your birthday with her, he he he.

Devki: Thanks for dropping by. Those earliest fragrances etched in our memories are part of our being. We are fortunate to have them as a part of our selves. Keep visiting.

Manpreet said...

Devaki: Sorry, I spelled your name wrong in the previous comment.

Anonymous said...

Very sweet Ma'am, specially Rasan's actions spell out her total dediation and love for you-the same way your words spell out YOUR love for your two mothers-really really touching. I have to say this about the post-humour with sensitivity!Loved this post of yours- the last lines are actually the truth of life- I know Rasn will do the same and some day you will read a similar post on HER blog!! :)