The frangrance of eau-de-cologne always takes me down the nostalgic lane.
While i was still curled up in bed, Ajee would wake early at the break of dawn. The only birds you can hear in Mumbai at that hour are the crows. A steaming cup of tea would await her at the dining table. Ajoba and she would sip in silence. For whenever i saw this composition, i remember it to be very brief. Ajee would never linger over her first cup of tea, even as of today.
Picking up her thin white towel, blouse and petticoat she would begin her day with her bath. Luke warm water - only a bucketfull was sufficient. Another bucketfull of soapy water, she used to wash her saree.
By the time I awoke to her morning call and the sunlight seeping through the transperant curtains, often made from her old sarees, the first fragrance that my nose would catch was that of her eau-de-cologne. Probably that was the first smell my nose, when it was more tender, learnt to identify. So fresh the whiff was eventhough she didn't use much.
Ajee never really appreciates 'other' perfumes. "Such strong fragrances, you people use. It is almost suffocating." - she always comments, every time i walk out fresh from my bath. The Eau-de-cologne, however, has never seemed to entice me. Probably because I was introdued to the variety of the fragrance industry, at the beginning of my teenage or maybe because even today the eau-de-cologne comes packed in an open headed bottle to be unscrewed and poured onto... 'a hankey' probably? I mean what were the manufaturers thinking, when other companies were instroducing spray bottles or roll-ons.
This is probably only one of the many memories that Ajee has etched for me. Her banana milkshake (where she squished the banana in a bowl with her hand , sprinkled sugar and poured milk over it) became a part of my breakfast in the later years when i went to college very early in the morning. Her morning walks, story telling sessions, singing poetry on cold evenings as we sat around the fire in Lonavela... these moments have all, in some way, become a part of my life. Their impact will probably reflect when I grow older and have more time for people around, than alone for myself.