Saturday, April 29, 2006

scents and sensibility

it's incredible what a vivid - and emotionally powerful - trigger, a smell is.
Every time my roommate lights a cigarette, it's not that first sting just in your nose that goes up into your sinuses in a warm rush... it reminds me so much of being a child.
Summer evenings in a dark verandah in a series of huge, rambling colonial bungalows all over UP. Purple sky, stars just coming out. Breeze. Peace. Security. No worries.
These used to be the times when my dad would usually be back and be sitting outside with the evening chai... and usually this would be the first time in the day I'd smell it. This was before the job, before hostels, before college, before tutions, before even a bicycle-equipped friend circle. Most of the time between when I was old enough to walk and old enough to be allowed out of the house on my own - this was a defining smell, a scent that said my dad's home... later we'd sit and chat. And I'm always going to remember this smell with him, and my wanting to be like him.
I don't get this memory when I actually take the first drag, or even when I light up myself - that has a whole other set of associations. Teens. Adventure and guilt. Breaking rules. It happens only when someone else around me lights up - especially with a wood match.

I can quit smoking. I can't quit wanting to smoke. Right uptil when I actually do.


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