“Caressed by the whiff of a fragrance unforgotten
My soul plunges deep, to pull up memories long forgotten
Darkness so black, the world without white
Guided by a fragrance, not by my sight
Trusting the unseen, the untouched
I remember distinctly, my memory un-fudged
The way the fragrance overpowered me
It consumed me, like flames devour a tree
I was burnt into nothingness, just ash
Left of my being, in this world’s cache
Reborn pure as the first snow
I saw this world and that, no eye could ever show
Caressed by the whiff of a fragrance unforgotten
My soul plunges deep, to pull up memories long forgotten…”
Fragrance… it is the eternal thread that runs through all our experiences, weaving them together into a most beautiful scarf of silken memories. It takes you by surprise. A simple step into my Dadi’s prayer room was enough for the fragrances to weave their magic and transport me back to Tirupati, in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh.
People often have marvelous accounts of their pilgrimage to Lord Venkateswara’s famed temple situated at Tirupati. Yet all I remember is the dark, and the fragrance. The day I visited the temple, the statue wasn’t loaded with gold ornaments, as is customary, but was adorned by beautiful flowers. In the little chamber where we stood, the only source of light was the soft glow of the diyas burning at Lord’s feet.
I distinctly remember the lingering scent of sandalwood, incense sticks and kapur intermingling with the fresh sweet scents of flowers… the smell of rose water intertwined with that of burning diyas… the devotion of the pious lending its characteristic smell to even the non-believers, bathing them in its mist, cleansing them of their sins, purifying their souls…
That day at Tirupati, I underwent a transformation. Intoxicated on that heavy scent, I was purged of all my sins. It felt as if I passed through God’s discerning eye and came through, shining better than ever.
Such is the strength of this aroma that it makes you drop your baggage of fear and anxieties. It assures and reassures you that nothing can go wrong, that nothing bad can happen. For me, it symbolizes all that is pure and strong. The very scent of kapur gives me the strength and courage to fight for what I believe is right.
However, the life I lead now does not afford me the luxury of indulging my senses in this most beloved of all fragrances. With work taking center-stage, my prayers are often nothing more than silent movements of my lips. Gone are the days when the fragrance of God used to be my home’s fragrance too.
I wish we could get the old days back… where God’s scent was abundant… when He resided in our homes...