Humour: Smell and the city - Hindustan Times
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Humour: Smell and the city

Hindustan Times | ByRehana Munir
Jun 14, 2020 12:21 AM IST

Like a devious tour guide, the nose leads us into risky emotional terrain

I returned from my maiden trip to Paris with stars in my eyes, romance in my head and a bottle of perfume. Almost a year later, I’m still wondering whether the fragrance I’ve been exulting in is actually a perfume or a linen spray. The label says something about ‘eau’ and ‘maison,’ which doesn’t bode well from whatever I remember of high school French. I sometimes tell myself it’s their house fragrance – a signature smell; when I’m anxious, I’m convinced it belongs on fabric and not skin. Sure, I could get some linguistic help and sort out the matter. But it’s so much more French to be suspended in this state of bittersweet unknowingness.

Fragrances have pervaded spaces where they certainly don’t belong(Photo imaging: Parth Garg)
Fragrances have pervaded spaces where they certainly don’t belong(Photo imaging: Parth Garg)
In literary criticism, the ‘madeleine moment’ refers to a sensory trigger; but for Mumbai residents, a keen sense of smell isn’t a blessing!
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