Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The smell of my mogra


'How much for a bunch?', I asked, the bitter taste of my last cigarette still fresh in my mouth and on my fingertips. I liked how the faint smell of tobacco remained on my fingers, sometimes even hours after my last session with the cigarette; a far cry from the past when it disgusted me, of course my past was way past my present and no longer a part of me.

I paid the tiny sum of Rupees five to the old lady and took the sweet smelling flowers wrapped in fresh, wet green leaf. I had never quite bought flowers like this before, but this was an impulsive purchase and anomalies were allowed here. I walked further in the dimming twilight of the first cold evening of January , reading the names of shops passing by, in a language I barely understood.

I smelt them much later, through the open edges of the green leaf. The fragrance took me by surprise, I never expected it to be so extraordinarily beautiful. People stared at me as I stood right there, in the middle of the ocean of people flowing all around. Shoulders brushed against mine, and clothes rustled as everyone rushed past, some going home while others away from it. Everyone was busy. I stood alone.

I met Sonia an hour later in our usual cafe, the fragrance still with me, the flowers tucked away safely in the side pocket of my backpack. This was our last coffee date, but I heard nothing, even when she screamed and stormed out. This was her moment, yet I robbed it off her, though unintentionally. She could have stayed back and screamed some more, I wouldn't have minded. I was happy with the beauty I now possessed, with the unexpected joy of connecting with myself through the faint smell, with the mystery these little white flowers were going to reveal to me in the night.

I had the flowers crushed on my face as I worked upon myself, building up a climax I barely even knew existed. I was in a trance while the smell filled all the space around me. The bed sheet was damp with my sweat later, even as the fan whirred slowly overhead and I lay satisfied with the faintest ever smile on my face.

I got a fright the next morning when the flowers wilted and their beauty waned. The grief was as unexpected as the joy of finding their beauty the previous evening. I slept through the morning and the afternoon, dreaming intermittently about Sonia and the white flowers, my throat going dry and an expectation building up at the thought of the old woman and buying the flowers again. Even before the sunlight started fading, I was ready to go out and explore. I wasn't the same animal anymore.

46 comments:

  1. i guess one is a different animal each evening. one really needs something very strong to hold on to , and to remain true to one's natural grain, to remain the same animal throughout.but then , who knows? maybe . maybenot

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  2. Good narrative quality...and the last para was profound:-)

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  3. @Stuti: True...one is different animal often, and one is often more of an animal than a human...

    @Nasnin: Ah...I thought it would be interesting to explore something unusual...but then maybe not, on another layer...

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  4. i loved the smell of mogra...i would pick mogra from neighbours' house and keep them in my fist for a long time so that when the flower will dry up i could still smell it from my palm.

    there were times when i would pick a few more and put them in a small bowl of water near my window....so that whenever there is a breeze...the smell came along...

    agreed that the mogra smells good. but not when it is adultered. where i stay... i cannot stand the smell of mogra....it mixed, adulterated. i have a headache now. though somewhere i still want to smell it amongst thousand other smell of oil, food, perfume, sweat...


    great narration....my fav. coz i can so relate to it....

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  5. Your neighbourhood flower seller might jack up the prices if he reads this post :)

    You post was like Rag Bihag - melancholic...poignant.

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  6. Thanks Shruti, I never knew mogra was such a popular flower, but its smell is certainly intoxicating...

    Whats adulterated mogra smell? With some other fragrance?

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  7. Not really Purba, she does not sell flowers in my neighborhood, but in a narrow lane in Dadar, Mumbai...but thanks anyway :)

    Just heard Rag Bihag (by Pandit Jasraj)...its wonderful!

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  8. yes mixed with other fragrance...just like an adulterated relationship...

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  9. :)

    Is adulterated relationship so bad? It may have its own sweet smell...something one can pine for, and love...

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  10. uumm...good question...never had any aduterated relationship...but i think the sweetness is felt by the one who is adulterated....not the one who is cheated!

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  11. I don't quite mean it like that...have you read the book 'The Garden of Eden' by Hemmingway? I meant something like that...

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  12. i haven't read it...but i understand what you are referring to...to me a man - woman or woman - woman or man - man relationship is based on one and one and life becomes difficult if it is one on two or two on one...i cant recall any relationship where a man can love two women and live peacefully together with them or vice -a-versa...initially it may be beautiful and something out of this world! but eventually three is always a crowd! dont you think?

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  13. True its not easy, and frankly speaking I really think its commendable for those who can be a part of it.

    But then fiction gives you the opportunity to explore facets of unusual relationships without being in one...

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  14. one has to go through lot of selflessness...non egoistic relationship then i guess...

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  15. I guess so...btw have you seen the movie - Vicky Cristina Barcelona? It explores this as well...

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  16. yes...have seen that... :) i quite liked it!

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  17. how the hell do you do that :) very very very well written. i have said before and i will keep repeating, i love your fiction work <3

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  18. wait! it doesn't say its fiction :D even better...

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  19. Thanks Chintan, I am glad you liked it :)

    p.s. I usually never say that the stories are fiction! wink wink ;)

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  20. Great story once again... Our emotions, moods and memories are definitely triggered by what we smell. But in this story I find Mogra to be more an arousal or an aphrodisiac...or maybe I'm just analyzing it too much:)

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  21. How do you write like this! wow.. the words, the lonely joy, the fragrance and a small account of every thing.. nice!

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  22. I really liked what you said JV, and its completely true about attempt here as well. The smell here is like an aphrodisiac, something (unexpectedly) which fills the void left behind...

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  23. Thanks KP :) I am glad you liked it :)

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  24. I wonder! How do you manage to see this hint of delight through these obscure kind of relationships... in almost all of your narration..

    Must say ! As people often miss out on that..!

    Beautifully written ! :)

    Smelled great !

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  25. Beautifully worded, could smell the faint smell of flowers myself. Finding meaning and getting addicted to something in a day, quite interesting. BTW, I thought, you have only photography blog. Now, I know, you might find me here very often...:)

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  26. Thanks Thanking Beauty, I agree that I do get fascinated with the unusual...and it somehow suits my thoughts...

    I am really glad that you liked it :)

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  27. I think so too, though am not sure if that happens often (getting addicted in a day)...maybe sometimes, with some...

    This is actually more of my blog, the travel blog came up only last year :) I would love to hear lots from you here as well...

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  28. Just a correction..!
    It's Thinking beauty.. and you always write it as thanking beauty.. :P

    p.s. I kinda think the same when it comes to unusual... :)

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  29. That was a terrible mistake on my part...though trust me it was a typo error! No more from now on :)

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  30. That's perfectly alright !

    I do it all the time ! :)

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  31. That was beautiful.Relationships, emotions, actions caught by the neck. Wonderful piece. I love mogra but being a south Indian we are bound to put them on our tresses. I have been exempted from that since i sneeze or get a headache within 5 min. I loove the smell though but for some time. But nothing like a mogra. White, serene, peaceful, enchanting but gets brown and the beauty dies soon. Maybe it shows that good things dont last long but that doesnt stop you from loving it.

    Loved it!

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  32. Thank you Red Handed, your comments are always so thoughtful. I agree its really popular in South and I love the women who wear it...

    Anyway its a transient beauty, much like life, love etc as you rightly said...

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  33. I do not do this usually but I wanted you to read my better posts, somehow your timing on my blog lands on a rather odd post :(

    And, your email is not enabled either! thus, my apologies but I am posting the links here...

    Tea Then Coffee Now

    Claim your accident now

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  34. Last comment was by me :)

    And if it's not fiction, then even betterrrrrrrrr!!

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  35. Thanks for the links, am already reading them :)

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  36. i dont know what a mogra is but... man, those are unbelievably romanticism-inducing flowers. <3

    i was hooked from the first word... in other words:

    'you got me at hello.' :)

    in your post's case... the first word is 'how.'

    good one sid.

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  37. Thanks Aasiyah, am really happy that you enjoyed it :)

    p.s. Do a quick google and you shall know more about the flower...am not sure if you'll actually find it in Philippines though...

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  38. arey yaar! it is the Philippines' national flower: Sampaguita! XD

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  39. :D Chalo I also learnt something new today morning, thank you Aasiyah :)

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  40. and i burst out laughing. XD hehehehehhehehehehe.

    im so pagal.

    lesson: google before you ask.

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  41. Third paragraph is awesome......i mean ev.thing is bt ..this third one is just a moment captured........ppl this guy is gonna go high.......i am not sure...I KNOW...!
    .........Rhythm meling into melody n transforming into harmony thts wht i can say........dont know which corner of the world i am expressing.....bt do count it for him...t.c..
    .siddharth u can trash this anytime.

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  42. Aasiyah: :)

    Anonymous: Thanks Vijay, you are superlative in your compliments but thank you very much, I am truly honored :)

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  43. This is my first time on your blog.. Will certainly not be the last! :)

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  44. Thanks Anindita, I would also love to hear more from you here :)

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  45. im in love with your blog!!!! ....
    your writing is par excellence, im short of words when describing how beautifully every word flows in with the other and creates a perfect story ... simply FAB.. Keep writingggg

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  46. @Menachery: Thank you, I am glad you like something here :)

    I will do my best to keep writing more :)

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