Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Auroville incense sticks

Home is where the incense burns: Every morning I wake up in a foreign country that perhaps will never be home. But when I open my canister of carefully rationed Leo coffee powder the strong aroma reminds me only of Madras. And if I close my eyes, I am there.
Amma’s home is the smell of rose petals in an urli, bodhi sattva incense, withering parijatham and malli. Ripe mangoes in season and water infused with vetiver roots in summer. Coriander, curry leaves and Sabena. These smells mingle to produce a bouquet that can perhaps never be replicated, and even if it were only two people would want a bottle of it – my sister and myself. I’ve done my best to recreate the smell of home in my small corner of London.
Every trip to Madras sees me return with ridiculous quantities of Auroville incense sticks and Giri Trading’s annual stock of sambrani. I go overboard though, and it’s not uncommon to see my husband red eyed and spluttering as he drinks his morning chai, enveloped in a white gauzy aromatic mist.But I can’t help myself. The scented candles and incense you get in London do not remind me of my home but of Laura Ingall Wilder and her little house on the prairie. Sweet Potato Pie, Washed Linen and Spiced Cranberry say Thanksgiving not Thai Poosam. posted by The ramblings of a shoe fiend @ 9:49 AM

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