What do you do when you have just a few hours to discover a new city? You ditch your run-of-the-mill itinerary and let a food specialist walk you through the city’s delicacies as you soak in its cultural and historical landmarks.
* Published in the November 2016 issue of Spiceroute, the inflight travel magazine of Spice Jet airlines
I wake up this morning in a bed that isn’t mine. I look around and everything seems rather unfamiliar. Everything, save one distinct fragrance—that of the rain-kissed earth. I feel confused, yet at peace. I am at home, yet far from home. Now, it slowly starts to come together. A 10-hour train journey the night before brought me to Goa. I’ve left the balmy city of Mumbai long behind for the verdant Southern state, albeit just for a week.
Through the window of my villa I see the rain kiss the red soil outside. Further in the distance, the sea is a roaring grey entity, its waves rising and falling in a manner that seems urgent—almost as if they are calling out to me.
I don’t have an agenda to follow now that I’m here. Or maybe I do. For now, the bed-to-balcony walk seems like the only route I’d like to take. Instead, I go a bit further. I feel the drops of rain gentle fall upon my skin as I stand on the moist soil. Today is a special day.
I am a monsoon baby. I was born in the month of July. I came into this world many years ago today, the 21st day of July. It might be the reason why I love the monsoons much more than any of the other seasons. But then again, who doesn’t love weather like this.
Endless cups of tea are always in order when the weather’s so fine. A book to read or my notebook to write makes for great company. The air is so much cooler at this time of the year. The awfully hot and seemingly never-ending summer that just went by has blurred into the distant past. Everyone looks much happier than they were a few months ago. That’s what the turn of the season can do.
Most fascinating about the rainy season is the fresh and natural scent that’s hard to ignore. That powerfully evocative fragrance of freshly rain-kissed earth is like no other. It fills the land with a fresh and lush feel that no Indian season could ever bring.
I recently read up about a phenomenon, also known as petrichor. In a bid to study the science behind the rain’s aroma in 1964, a pair of scientists coined the term petrichor by combining the Greek words petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of the gods).
An apt term, indeed. But why does the earth exude such a strong, distinct smell that’s unlike anything else? The study determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is the blend of oils secreted by a number of plants during the hot, dry season. As soon as it starts to rain, compounds from the oils start interacting with each other and get released into the air.
I can’t help but be thankful for this natural phenomenon. It’s such a pleasant aroma, one that can only be associated with the rains. The scent of fresh earth is comforting and nostalgic. Childhood memories surface; one feels carefree and light all over again.
Now, if I had the chance to create my own fragrance for a perfume, I would try to recreate the smell of rain. I’ve always loved natural-smelling perfumes. For the most part of my life I’ve used just a single perfume — Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea.
If there had to be another perfume or scent that I might want to use on myself or even as a pillow or air spray, it would most definitely be one that smells of the rain and the wet mud.
This post is my entry for the Godrej aer Inspire A Fragrance contest on Indiblogger.com, in which winning entries will help inspire Godrej to create new fragrance based on the participant’s entries. It’s a fantastic crowd-inspired initiative that allows the blogger to become a part of their think-tank. Let’s hope they are inspired by my love for the fresh smell of a rainy day.