Kiss from a Nose


Kiss from a Nose

Illustration: Mudit Ganguly


y grandfather had a smell that was peculiarly his – a gentle, beloved, nana smell. It was for me, the smell of childhood happiness. It was a mixture of the smell of recently-mown grass, Panama cigarettes and Godrej shaving rounds. He died almost a million years ago, but even today, a mere whiff of any of these will bring back memories of entire vacations spent at his home – of cool, crisp, sunny days spent lying in his garden, sucking on blades of grass, as he pruned his trees and rose bushes.

That sulphurous stink, just short of rotting eggs, rough and acrid, makes your heart burst with happiness, because actual Diwali firecrackers were the backdrop to your first kiss. The smell of chlorine will always bring back the joy of learning to swim and clambering up to the high boards to jump into the welcoming water.