The Glass Bangle

Being a Woman

Fragrance of a Flower


It’s raining here in Kerala, my favourite time of the year. Yesterday, as I was waiting outside my apartment building, I spotted a flower on the wet ground. It had fallen from the Chembaka tree that stands guard outside our building. On a whim I picked up the flower and felt the waxy petals, soft and curling around the edges. I realized that I hadn’t touched a flower in a very long time. The tiny screen of my phone offers a plethora of images of glossy exotic flowers when required, but the actual sensation of running my fingers over a flower had eluded me. The joy of inhaling the scent of summer afternoons and wet rainy days that flowers hold within them had been missing from my life.

I love plants and flowers. Unfortunately I’m a very unsuccessful gardener, what with my brown thumbs and propensity for killing houseplants. So I’ve been staying away from flora of any kind, satisfying my inner gardener by draping myself over the balcony railing and gazing down soulfully at my neighbor’s amazing garden. Recently I couldn’t control myself and brought home two hapless plants. I stay as far away from them as possible but still the leaves tremble when I pass by. The thought does pop up in my mind whether the reason is the playful wind or brown-thumbed me.

While my love-story with plants proceeds on its rocky path, my relationship with flowers has been more cordial. It might also be due to the memories associated with the fragrances of different flowers. As I caressed the petals of my fallen flower yesterday, I was overwhelmed by a mélange of precious memories which tumbled out from my room of memories and settled all around me. At that moment I couldn’t savour them as I had to leave. But I gathered them up and shook them out that night while I curled up in bed with the soothing murmur of raindrops keeping me company.

There’s a wealth of possibility in a flower. It’s capable of arousing the most varied emotions in a person, just by being. The scent of tuberoses takes me back to my wedding. I can’t help smiling when I think of my grandmother’s strict instructions not to be too talkative during the ceremony to the bridegroom who had been my best friend for the past two years. Or the part where my father, who was supposed to place my hand in Mr A’s hand, happily took the latter’s hand and placed it in mine. The memories give me a chance to see my father’s hearty smile and feel his presence once again.

The flowers also transport me back to my mother’s puja room where the slightly floral scent of incense together with the dim glow of the oil lamp combined to give an otherworldly feeling. It was the place where my mother communed with Gods who had benevolent eyes and Mona Lisa smiles. No matter the turmoil in my mind, this memory centers me and gives me peace.

Jasmine flowers are largely associated with love and longing, but to me they are symbols of the simplicity of my childhood. We had a jasmine plant at home that was diligently nurtured by our household help, a wonderful lady with the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, even though the plant grew lush and healthy, it did not yield many flowers. But every evening, she would collect a couple of those flowers, which made up for their sparse numbers by their intoxicating scent, place them in a small dish and keep it on our dining table. If the number of flowers increased even marginally, they would be placed in the puja room. Nostalgic memories of a seemingly uncomplicated life.

A fallen flower can also take me to my college days when windy rainy afternoons and overcast skies brought with it a feeling of anticipation and romance. Gusts of wind carrying the fragrance of life and the freshness of rain would sweep flowers off their perches on trees, some to be trampled, others to be blown away and some special ones to be given to dear ones.

These and many more thoughts associated with flowers flit through my mind like a silent film which only I can watch. As I lie in bed cozily wrapped in those warm memories I am lulled into sleep clutching that fallen chembaka flower in my hand.

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25 comments on “Fragrance of a Flower

  1. Aneesh
    July 14, 2017

    That Touch Screen part was so true!
    Your Father is a Rebel..
    I think I am a green thumb!!
    When I was a kid, I planted a mulberry plant which was not known to grow in Kottayam..But not only did it grow, it flourished into a tree and bloomed many a times…The word spread and ever since I ve planted the first of many Chenas, Kappas, Vaazhas and even Cheeras and Passion Fruits in many farmlands around my house back then….So much so that the Panchayath declared this activity of mine a cottage Industry!

    Try reading Voltaire’s Candide where he says that “tending one’s own garden” is not only a private activity but also productive”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      July 14, 2017

      Hi Aneesh ! Long time since I saw you here. Hope everything is going well my friend 🙂
      I am totally envious of your green thumb, especially since I’m a failed gardener 🙂
      I agree with Voltaire, but unfortunately I cannot put it into practice.

      Like

  2. Heart to soul.
    July 3, 2017

    Loved your blog! Glad to have met you here. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tarang Sinha
    June 10, 2017

    Beautiful writing! I was flowing with your words. Isn’t it amazing how a tiny flower (or any little thing that seems insignificant) evokes so many memories and feelings?

    P.S: I am a failed gardener (with a brown thumb as you say) and I find it very impressive when someone manages a healthy, flourishing garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 11, 2017

      Thank you for the lovely words Tarang. I too love to get my fill of plants from gazing at lovely gardens 🙂

      Like

  4. dreamzandclouds
    June 8, 2017

    also, you should have more plants in your home, if you love them, they love you back – my experience, and Anjana, do pick up a few flowers every now & then, they are the most innocent form of love & tenderness. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 8, 2017

      I love them. The problem I think is too much love 😀
      I loved your suggestion regarding flowers. At one time I regularly had flowers at home. Should revive that practice. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dreamzandclouds
    June 8, 2017

    you & your words always create such vivid images for me, thanks for this beautiful post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sreesha Divakaran
    June 8, 2017

    This is amazing piece of prose. It’s so well written and so evocative. I could visualize everything you’ve written, about your wedding, the pujas, the jasmine, all of it. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 8, 2017

      Thank you for the wonderful feedback Sreesha! The rains bring out all the words hiding inside 😊

      Like

  7. Durga Prasad Dash
    June 8, 2017

    The flavour of the first rain is something different

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Vijayalakshmi Harish
    June 7, 2017

    What a beautifully written post! You do have a way with words. May your life be forever filled with flowers!

    Like

  9. Leelamoni
    June 7, 2017

    Such a beautiful write up from a single fallen flower. Love you dear for those touching thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Colline
    June 7, 2017

    Nothing better than touching the physical flower and inhaling its scent.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Suresh
    June 7, 2017

    Beautifully written Anjana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mila
    June 7, 2017

    Ya!! It’s raining plenty in kerala!! When I reach school, my leg will be all muddy and wet!!😜

    Liked by 1 person

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