~*Nostalgic Flashbacks*~

09:20

She was on fire! Her screams were getting louder. I extended my hand to help her, but her hand was burnt. I jumped in the fire but she was gone and so had the flames.I screamed and someone was screaming along with me. I jerked upright in my bed, darkness surrounded me, my eyes were tired and groggy with sleep. The screaming continued and slowly i became aware that it was the telephone. The bedside clock read 1:30 A.M. Who could it be?

"hello"

A distant voice of a girl spoke up " Bush..." it was Tanya's sister. Why was she calling so late? 

"What is... it.. Nita Di?" My heart beat so fast, i was afraid it would burst out.

"Bushra,....Tanya,..sh..sh..she...she committed suicide..!." Nita Di replied, with choked breath.

I stared in the hollow darkness, not wanting to believe just what i had heard.Tanya Sehgal? My best friend? suicide? The world had gone mad!

Disheveled and shaken i sat on the cold floor.....Mum came rushing inside the room and when she didn't get an answer for her repeated questions, she took the receiver from my hand. After a while, i felt her hand on my shoulder, she had smelt the depth of my sorrow. Too overcome by emotions, i hugged her and cried my heart out.

Tanya and i were soul sisters, from different mothers! As both neighbours and classmates, we had had the opportunity to grow up together as chaddi-buddies and wove several fragrant memories.
The toughest day of my life was the next day when Tanya's cremation ceremony took place. I locked my self up in a room and cursed the whole world moaning and weeping!

The next day, the rays of sunlight falling on my face woke me up.My head was aching severely, but i felt a bit saner.

I started oiling my hair and braiding them. The sweet aroma of coconut oil  plunged my olfactory senses, reminding me of the merrier times with Tanya.Images started forming....

Kaki would not let us play until she would finish braiding our hair.As Tanya's Grandma was far away in the North,she grew up knowing and loving my Grandma. Kaki would lovingly braid our long hair and narrate tales of her childhood days, meanwhile, chewing beetle leaves. I and Tanya would be awed by her talks and would love sitting by her and letting her oil our hair. Time and again we would catch a whiff of tobacco and beetle leaves from Kaki's red mouth.


Maybe eating something would help! I opened the fridge and a whiff of citrus caught me. The fridge was filled with citrus fruits and salad. So... Di was on a diet... hmmm... The fragrance of lemon and fresh salad reminded me of my own dieting days...

They were those days when Tanya and I had started getting self-cautious. Tanya was a fitness freak!She would advice me on how to get rid of that extra flab and one fine day we both decided to go on a month long diet.One whole week of salad torture and the next week we were like "Screw the diet" and i remember how we had overcome our food deficiency by dining at a  hotel and eating as much as one would eat in a whole month! So the smell of citrus fruits, especially Lemon, always reminds me of Salads-horror!  

The headache persisted. Some mint tea would surely do the trick! I switched the stove on.While the milk boiled, i stared at the bunch of mint leaves which looked fresh and smelt so heavenly. The minty aroma brought back those fun-filled days....

Tanya and I would spend our weekends planting mint stems in pots, invigilated by Kaki, my Grandma. We would lovingly plant the fragrant stems and water them regularly.Observing the stems, until leaves would sprout out of them and over-watering the plant to make it grow in just an hour was so much fun!
Mint Tea! ugh!Tanya was the worst cook ever! Once i had been to her house to work together on a project and oh my!The tea she served was burned, watery, and cold, but it was made with loads of love and care. So i couldn't refuse it, not even if it was poisoned!
Then there were those sleepovers when we would do combined studies, sipping on unlimited mint tea,bullying our brains to mug up.

Staying in the house for one more moment would screw me up! Perhaps attending college was a better option. I got ready and packed my books....books...oh!

New or old-they always smelt so good!I and Tanya would play FLAMES on the last pages of our rough books and predict our destinies with our secret crushes :P.....scents of first love-ah!bliss!
Tanya's sister,Nita Di,would fool us. She would ask us to keep a Peacock feather in an old book and not touch it for 15 days. After 15 days, when we would open the book, we would find that there is a small feather along with the big one. Nita Di would say that the peacock had left an offspring, and our innocent little brains would actually believe it! :/ We would also preserve pencil sharpens in our notebooks :)
I remember the day i had read 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone' and had fallen in love with it and had gone running over to Tanya's place. "You have got to read this Tan, you have just got to!"
.....she will never read a novel ever again!


The dark circles were more graver than ever. I attempted in hiding them by applying coats of makeup. The whiff of powder stung my nose, forcing me to recollect the past....those were happy times!

The fragrance of lipsticks,creams and bath packs are reminders of my Barbie days. Tanya and i would comb our Barbie's hair and load her with makeup :D The lips would be done with red crayon, the cheeks would be given the blushed look with a pink crayon, and a black crayon would be used for the eyebrows. Also,I remember how Tanya and I would poach lipsticks and creams from our Mothers' vanity and apply it all over our faces,as obviously we didn't know how to apply makeup back then. 


With a jolt i realized that i had kept tea on the stove. There was smoke every where, the vessel had burnt. I quickly switched off the stove. The smoke emanating from the burnt tea looked so familiar...The poignant smell of smoke filled my nostrils, blocking my breath, but my mind was not blocked, it was busy recollecting...

They were those days when regular monsoon power-cuts were very common in Bangalore. The residents would finish all their chores by evening and sit outside with a couple of other neighbour aunties. While our mothers would be busy gossipping, Tanya, I and other neighbouring  kids would be busy lighting a bonfire. We would collect straws, twigs and old newspapers to keep the fire alive. Meanwhile,Kaki would treat us with a story or two.When we would run out of  dried leaves and twigs, we would pluck fresh leaves from trees and attempt to keep the fire going on. When finally the power would come, we would curse the power man for doing so. The smell of ashes, the smell of smoke when it filled our nostrils and the smell of fresh leaves on fire, will always remind me of those wonderful joyous moments.


I was on my way to the Bus stop.A neighbour had thrown rotten rice near my house gate. The foul smell stung my olfactory senses almost to a degree of nausea. Smiling for the first time, i realized how much i had missed this smell...

Those were our Chitranna days. I hated Chitranna, and Tanya hated it too. So when our lovely mothers would stuff our tiffin boxes with that yucky yellow rice, we would skip lunch.....and don't go with the idea that we allowed ourselves to get caught! Naah! We would throw the rice behind a pillar(our secret spot) and let it rot, just before entering our houses and our mothers would be so happy seeing our empty boxes and assume that we actually ate it. :D So whenever i get to smell rotten food,this memory comes floating back to me...!


I passed a site where a huge apartment was under construction. There was a  large heap of sand next to it and some children were playing in it. The sand smelt so good...

"Hey Tanya c'mon, the Mistri has gone out. Now we can play" I would happily call out to my best friend. When a new house would be constructed in our neighbourhood, all the excited kids, including Tanya and me would have the time of our lives! We would wait for the workers to go out for lunch and attack the heap of sand which was there for construction purpose.Carried away with the sweet smell of sand,we would build sand castles,play sand ball and collect sea shells. The scent of salty sand against innocent flesh and the happiness on unearthing a new shell every time, is a memory which i shall preserve forever!


The bus was jam-packed with sweating people. Unable to tolerate the disgusting stench of sweat, i opened a window. A couple of children were playing Hopscotch near the Bus top. The stench of sweat and the game the children were playing resumed the flashbacks...

Tanya and I would play Hopscotch a.k.a 'kith kith' on Sundays.  The little fights when someone cheated and the wait for our respective turns, was the best part of the game. The exhausting game would leave us drenched in sweat. We would stink like hell and are mothers would give us a warm bath and  not to forget, a good kick lecture along with it! The disgusting stink of  our sweating clothes and the smell of fear of Mum's wrath, is something which transfers this memory into an eternal nostalgia...


I looked at the timetable, the first hour was chemistry practicals. As i entered the chemistry lab, a  musty whiff of different chemicals caught my nose. The smell resembled the fragrance from Nirma detergent powder....

Innovation and experiment had always fascinated Tanya and me!The fragrance of detergent powder always reminds me of those wonderful days when we would blow bubbles made from Nirma detergent powder.We would smuggle some of it along with some shampoo from our homes and make a solution out of it. The solution would be used to blow bubbles using a circular wire. It was our favourite pass-time. The fresh aroma of detergent and it's sour taste when we would swallow a bubble or two was-priceless!


On my way back to the Bus stop,it started drizzling. The little droplets fell on the muddy land and emanated the heavenly scent of Petrichor, Mitti ki khushbu! The sun rays fell on the droplets and there it was... as beautiful as ever- a rainbow!...

"Look! A rainbow!" Tanya would shout with glee.I would look up at the sky and find a spectacular display of colourful rings, staring back at me. We would climb the highest buildings in our area to get a better view of the lovely sight. After we would have our fill,we would run in the moist ground, braving the slight drizzle, our little feet would take us to every house in the colony, and within a short span of time, the whole world would know that there's a rainbow in the sky! The scent of bheegi mitti and the smell of joy and exuberance on sighting the rainbow,would make those moments unforgettable. 


Covering my head with my bag to prevent myself from getting wet, i rushed inside the main gate. There were bird feathers all over the place and not to forget the unpleasant stink of bird excretion. Perhaps the neighbouring aunty had let her hens sneak inside my garden. The smell was not alien to me-oh! not at all! ....  

The unbearable stink of bird feathers  brings back those fun filled days when we would buy coloured chicks, at a decent price of Rs 2/- and would have fun taming are  tiny new pets. I remember that when a chick would die, Tanya and I would be on the verge of tears and would bury it lovingly.We would give a name to our little feathery friend and write it against a rock and place it next to its grave when it would die....The scents of love and loss-how enduring!



My garden was laden with mogra plants. Mom had always loved them, and so had I and so had.....Tanya. Just the celestial scent of Mogra was enough to drive me back into the past...

It was Nita Di's wedding. The mixed aroma's of fresh Mogra decorated all over the house, the sweet smell of different mouth watering sweets, the vibrant smell of smoke emanating from the Pooja room, the fragrance of Mehandi on pretty hands, the smell of happiness all around, the smell of sorrow of the bride's parents and the smell of unconditional Love all around, put me and Tanya in a trance. It was like someone had mixed our favourite colognes and served us the cocktail on one single platter.
"My sister is going to leave me" Tanya said, staring at her fragrant palms laden with Mehandi. "Promise me Bush,....promise me that you'll stay with me forever" Tanya had said,hugging her teenage friend. 
Well! I had kept my promise, but she hadn't! I'll never forgive you for this Tanya!.....


I was back home. All these flashbacks had refreshed me and i had learnt that happiness and sorrow are a part of life. We should savour the happy moments and at times of sorrow,we should have faith in ourselves and restrain from taking severe steps.... i wish i had got a chance to explain this to Tanya!


The sweet recollections had left a smile on my face. I picked up Ambi Pur, my favourite room freshener and sprayed it all around me. The heavenly citric fragrance soothed my senses, tickling my olfactory cells, taking me back in time, to another beautiful world....yet again...!


This post may have been modified for the contest, but the memories with my friend and her death is not fictional! She really did commit suicide,leaving behind unforgettable,fragrant nostalgic memories which will haunt me forever....
............
All the sketches above have been hand drawn,scanned, edited and published by me.All rights reserved!

This Post is written for a Contest held by 'Ambi pur' and Indiblogger.in

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67 comments

  1. Nice post Bush! And the drawings r soooo cute...:)

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  2. sorry for your friend. but the memories associated were really sweet.. and the drawings too. :)

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  3. U are surely going to win Bush. Loved the whole story but its sad tht ur frn committed suicide at such a young age. Loving the pics a lot ♥♥♥♥

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    1. :D You always spoil me dearie....thank you for being by my side :) Love u! :X

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  4. Super post Bushra ! Well illustrated those childhood memories through your doodles ! Wish you best of luck !

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  5. Super post...All the best to you..:)

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  6. You should win this one too! Bush well done :)

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    1. So nice of you to say that...thanks :)

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  7. Nice one re.....very nice!
    Well those memories encapsulated in form of illustrative sketches...that's like "smell" depicted through scribbles...

    All the best
    Regards
    Sammya

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  8. I dunno what to say Bushu... I am choked. I hope you win this one. *hugs*

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  9. Im sorry to learn about Tanya hope she finds solace and peace where ever she is! Nonetheless cute drawings and very well conceptualised post :) all the best

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  10. loved the story and the sketches... wish you all the best
    hope you win this one also... much love

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    1. That's so sweet. Thank you Aparna dear :)

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  11. You spun magic with these sketches and words.. ATB for the contest !

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  12. She will find solace wherever she is .. Can't say much because I know how it feels to loose a friend .. All the best for contest :)

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    1. That's for sure Ankur.... ya i know how it feels
      Thanks :)

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  13. nice post Bush and just loved your sketches...all the best for the contest....

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  14. aMMMMMMMMMMMazing ...Sketches.. I was just following your sketches religiously .. I hope you do not waste such wonderful God gifted talent .. sketch more Plz .. your work is a treat to the eyes ... this is my personal and neutral opinion !!
    I am a fan of your sketching talent.
    God Bless you Bush ji :)

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    Replies
    1. Here comes the most awaited comment :)
      Thank you so much Jackie :D
      OMG....I am so happy :) Thankuuuuuuuuuuuuuu :)

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  15. superb post, well supported sketches. Nostalgic :-)

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  16. Though nice and intimate, but flooded with sadness. Beautiful sketches to go with your writing.

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  17. Sorry bout your friend ,
    Loved your narrative ,
    Too me back to my good ol days
    All the best

    Thats me: http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=272244

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  18. Used your talent of story telling and sketching quite well, Bushra. Good !! I too have done my bit of sketches with what little I know of drawing :)

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    1. Thanks Uma, and i am on my way to your blog.... :)

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  19. Good sketches, you are really creative :) Sorry about your friend though, childhood memories are the best, filled with innocence and happiness :)

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    1. Thanks Prasanna...... n yes, i am sorry about the step she took too....

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  20. from childhood - http://goodiformation.blogspot.in/

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  21. Beautiful post Bushra! Love the illustrations! Best of luck for the contest! :)

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  22. A poignant post, Bushra!
    I thought that I would be the only one mentioning unique smells like- Betel leaves, Sea-shells, Boiled Milk, Chemistry Lab, Burnt smell...etc that I mentioned in my Posts- http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=276653 & http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=274731
    Always great to find other great minds who think alike! :)
    Best Wishes!

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    1. Oh....That's some news :) Will surely check out your post :)

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  23. I hope you and Tanya meet soon in the future in some other world or during the next birth.

    I hope that I win the 2nd prize

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    1. That's sweet :)

      Hahaha....Ritesh, C'mon yaar. First prize toh tera hai ;)

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  24. Thats touching Bushra.. With so much left behind, I dont think she s (Tanya) gone.

    http://neoimaginations.blogspot.in/2013/09/my-aromatic-affairs.html

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  25. Good, you have put so much effort for this. Great post!

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  26. Sad yet sweet, all at once. I'm sorry that you had to endure the pain of losing a friend. I don't think I would have lived through my grief, if this happened to me... let alone have the courage to write about it.

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    1. Yes...writing about your darkest times needs real courage-i agree with you dear! :(
      Anyhow, Thank you for dropping by :)

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  28. Great post PUSHRA, and UR drawing is so cute good effort.Website Design Company

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  29. Such a good post pushra, I have been reading is wonderful post thanks to sharing.


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  30. Written simply and tastefully. It’s pleasant to read. Thank u


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