Nani’s Garden

The strong smell of freshly brewed coffee was the most appealing part of it all. Nani’s house was the most soothing place for me. I could just sit on the porch with that strong coffee and watch the squirrel play on the mango tree in the centre of the garden. Relief washed over me when Nani came and sat next to me. She smelled of medicated talcum powder and incense after her evening bath and puja and that for me was the best combination of fragrances in the world.

The township was small with a large number of trees scattered throughout it and sitting on the chair in backyard porch chair it felt like staring into a jungle. I never liked utilizing my vision during my lying around time in my favourite spot in the world so I closed my eyes and let the surrounding sink in me through my senses. The sound of Nani chopping and slicing the fruits for the fruit cream I asked for brought a smile to my face. That woman would really give me anything I ask for if I agree not to wear my ripped jeans and crop tops in front of her.

I could still hear the squirrel rustling through the leaves of the tree and the soft wind that kind-of created a harmony in the air. I took a deep breath to gather every inch of the moment before I had to go back home the next morning.

The space was a riot of fragrances. One fighting the other for dominance. The deep breath filled my senses with all of them at once and it felt beautiful. The smell of green chillies was the most dominant one. It came from the freshly planted green chilly plant in Nani’s tiny kitchen garden. Being a fan of spicy food, my mouth instantly started watering.

The gardener had just watered the plants in the garden and even though the numerous flowers were all emitting striking scents, my senses were attracted to the sour scent of the soaked leaves of the lemon plant and the smell of the wet mud. People wait for the monsoon to get hit by this intoxicating fragrance; I say why not water your own garden once each day?

It was almost time for sunset and in the plains it was not a big deal for anyone. The sun neither artistically set behind the mighty mountains nor did the sea swallow it. So, I decided to keep my eyes shut. I knew it was time for sunset because I could hear a swarm of birds chirping in the sky eager to go home, unlike me.

“You don’t want to go home tomorrow do you?” Nani asked in a loud voice because of her hearing impairment. I just nodded my head with my eyes still closed. Somehow closing my eyes shut out reality for a while. Memories of this happy place could be better preserved through fragrances. Recalling these fragrances would be of great help when the stench of alcohol and smoke overpowers me back at home. The stench of alcohol coming from my father tripping and stumbling in the house each night. The sound of the birds chirping and the smooth breeze rustling through trees softly could help drown the sound of things breaking and parents shouting at each other at midnight.

Visual memories would not help. I had to gather memories of fragrances and sounds in store for when winter came.