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The Aromatic Memories

About Poonam Ahluwalia

Poonam Walia is a Psychologist and practicing counselling and guidance. She is also a Special Educator ,and passionate about her profession. She has been working with children with special needs from last 10 years. A good book and an aroma of its pages is irresistible sight for her, her appetite for reading is unsatiable. Apart from being an avid reader she is a traveler, and likes to explore new destinations to soak in the divine beauty of miraculous nature.

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I crushed, and crushed it hard, so as to get it’s aroma for long. The balmy fragrance of dried Eucalyptus leaves is so refreshing and therapeutic. I closed my eyes and inhaled deep, to let it reach every bit of my consciousness. I wanted it to become a part of me, to anneal deep in me, so that even when we move to one more new destination, I should carry this fragrance along, safely packed in the Olfactory  Senses of my body. The fresh and pure aroma, like so many others, will be treasured in the ornate memory box of mine. The box in which I carry secrets, laughter and giggles, sobs and sighs, experiences and incidents. It’s a box of warmth experienced in friendships, of memories both sweet and sour, of likings and disliking, of elation and grief, all neatly packed inside.

I carry all this in the gallery of my mind where there is no delete or crop modes. We move on posting to one more undiscovered, unknown place with our forty plus, black painted trunks and a Pandora of different hues, of the time spent in this station. This house, was our home for last two years, and these tall graceful, Eucalyptus were my loyal companions during these two years. I enjoyed basking under their shade during sunny winter afternoons. They were happy to lend their strength to the hammock, which my daughter had been swinging herself on so very gaily.

As I inhale this fragrance, it brings to the threshold of my senses, many other aromas so close to the heart. The aroma of ‘Dal fry tadka’ from mom’s kitchen is so distinct in my memory. I have cooked so many meals with Dal in the menu, but the tadka of yellow lentils in mom’s kitchen is perhaps a perfectly complete childhood story which can’t ever be rewritten. It would zigzag its way in the evening, and would lure all the feet towards the kitchen.

Being the youngest among three siblings, I had the privilege of sleeping with mom. The warmth of mom’s body, the sweet smell which I would stealthily catch from the bare skin of her mid riff between her petticoat and blouse while I cuddled up with her during the afternoon nap, is tucked carefully in a corner. Touching the red mole below her neck near the cleavage was another romance I would indulge in, claiming my exclusive propriety on her.

The most precious possessions of my Pandora…they store and accumulate and are never replaced. The secret box never threatens of shrinking space.

I am a mother now. The tender fragrance of an infant – like the mixture of milk, baby oils and baby soap – transcends me to the angelic world of fairies and fairy tales, the abode of Thumbelina and Goldilocks. Every night I plant a deep kiss on my daughter’s skin, to gather the residuals of soothing, subtle smell that relaxes my nerves. I carry them along in my sleep.

Memory of that sleep doesn’t connect with the chores of the day next. It wakes up rather to the mystic smell of first showers, which drenched the world many monsoons ago. That’s the conspiracy of the Pandora. It refuses to maintain a chronological log. Whenever I try to arrange them in order, the fragrance of spices in the old steel jar, aroma of baking cake, smell of woolens when taken out from the box as the winter sets in, dried rose discovered between the pale pages of an old book, reshuffles through all my attempts.

Time! The mischievous secret box has some kind of rivalry with the ticking clock. It will trigger the memory of first love, but won’t allow me to either measure or maintain the rhythm of time.

Only one foul smell my Pandora has held on to, within its otherwise mystic collection. The pungent smell of medicines in an old age home I had once visited. A lady in her sixties sat on the stairs, looking blankly at the ceiling.

“Schizophrenia,” the caretaker had explained.

Some other voice inside me said, “She has lost her Pandora!”

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19 Response Comments

  • lovleen20/06/2017 at 11:24 AM

    Beautiful ! reminded me of so many smells I love ! Poonam knows how to make the mundane things we take for granted, very special. Rightly so. Life’s pleasures are in the small things.

    • Poonam Ahluwalia20/06/2017 at 6:18 PM

      hey Lovleen thanks dear!

  • js Ahluwalia20/06/2017 at 3:06 PM

    nicely written.intricate details bring the picture alive

    • Poonam Ahluwalia20/06/2017 at 6:18 PM

      thanks for reading!

  • Roopak20/06/2017 at 9:13 PM

    Beautifully written! each word makes me relive your magic, keep it up. I love reading each and every story of yours, it makes me relive mine <3

    • Poonam Ahluwalia22/06/2017 at 11:46 AM

      thank You for your love and appreciation my soulfriend

  • Sanjay20/06/2017 at 9:44 PM

    The most fragrant flowers never showcase themselves to passers by, they are hidden under a cool shade, just like a divine human, who only show their deepest feelings to their closed ones.

    • Poonam Ahluwalia22/06/2017 at 11:47 AM

      oh that’s quite profound and beautiful, Thank You so much

  • HARMEEK SINGH20/06/2017 at 10:15 PM

    Beautiful way to express the love of a Mother and warmth she showered upon you. Lucky Mother to have a daughter like you.

    • Poonam Ahluwalia22/06/2017 at 11:49 AM

      thank You for your appreciation ,your comments will be looked forward too always.

  • Raja20/06/2017 at 10:39 PM

    Innocence described quite so bluntly!! ? How wonderful to read which each one of us can associate with in some form …the piece flows brilliantly to the end. Way to go ??????

    • Poonam Ahluwalia22/06/2017 at 11:50 AM

      thank You for reading and liking it, Your comment made my day, will look forward to your opinion in future writings too.

  • Gurdeep Kaur21/06/2017 at 1:46 AM

    Beautiful piece Poonam! Resonates so many different aromas in my memento . Wish everyone’ s Pandora box can always stay healthy and safe with them.

    • Poonam Ahluwalia22/06/2017 at 11:53 AM

      Thank You Gurdeep, you are a lovely soul and i connect to you in all my emotions and spirituality. love you my friend.

  • Manish & anjali21/06/2017 at 8:12 AM

    Beautifully worded…the varied aroma brings back joyous memories and associated moments…thankyou…

    • Poonam Ahluwalia22/06/2017 at 11:55 AM

      Thank You for reading and for your words of appreciation .

  • Tejwant21/06/2017 at 9:56 PM

    Very nice article and excellently written.

  • Vikrant25/06/2017 at 6:57 PM

    I read the article a few days back. I was in the office and gave it a quick perusal while having my routine morning coffee. It was hard to do justice to such a well written emotion with a quick read and mind full of mundane chores. I just read it again, and was transported in another world while reading it. A great and enthralling article written by an accomplished writer.

    • Poonam Ahluwalia25/06/2017 at 9:18 PM

      thank you Vikrant for reading and appreciating it. You are more than magnanimous in your compliments, i am completely humbled.

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