Familiar Fragrance Unfamiliar Places by Tania Sen

Familiar Fragrance, Unfamiliar Places

Performance Art, Familiar Fragrance, Unfamiliar Places
Familiar Fragrance, Unfamiliar Places, Performance Art

This is a story told with regional flora and fauna, plant life and their cultural significance.  The sturdy marigold (genda) is widely used for all sorts of worships and rituals, births, weddings and deaths.  Little white fragrant blossoms (belle) are sewn together into a garland to be worn in braids to scent the long hair of young women.  These delicate blossoms are associated with the promise of pleasure and passion.  The bright red hibiscus, locally known as “jaba” is associated with dark passion.  Exclusively used for the worship of Kali, the dark Goddess of the underworld, sex and the supernatural.  A familiar scent invokes a state of mind that transports us to a place with a special significance.  Moving away from one’s place of birth and adolescence more importantly, preserves the memory of a certain scent or association that renders colorless and odorless in a place with long winters and dormant vegetation.  Power of the memory itself colors the emotions and lends warmth to an otherwise mundane, unfamiliar situation.  Such disjointed associations and allegiances become second nature and a way of life.  The mind delves into the depth of consciousness to seek colors that may otherwise be absent from one’s environment.