Friday 5 October 2018

Perfume Diaries (Part 3 of 4)

Part 3 of 4 – Perfume Diaries (Oct 4, 2018)

In the previous two parts of these diaries, you got to know how “Poeme” became the perfume of my choice for over two decades. In 2016 or so, I was told that the perfume was discontinued and that it would not be available for sale. I got into a panic. You take some things so much for granted that you don’t think twice about it. At each point of my life, I experimented with only one thing at a time and everything else remains the same. 

When I was single and finding out who my ideal partner would be, I stayed with the same company, Intel. After I got married, we moved into a home and we own that home even now. As I started experimenting with my career – from Intel to being a VC to Social entrepreneur to an entrepreneur from US to India, the rest of the habits remained same – Vamp lipstick from Chanel, Himalayan kajal stick, Poeme perfume, saree for the stage, standard pant, top and stole for the rest of the days, same dishes in handful of restaurants – be it baingan bhartha at the Amber in Mountain View or egg biryani at Lucky’s in Mumbai or spaghetti aglio olio at Toscano in Bangalore etc. So, when lipstick color Vamp was discontinued, I could get over it but when Poeme was discontinued, I was really upset. I wrote to the company, I even wrote a poem about Poeme. 

MARCH 29, 2019

Liquid Gold
Slightly sprayed on my skin
Lingering all day long
Seeping through layers of my skin
A love affair of over two decades
Becomes such a part of me
That it makes me smell like “me”.
I have always been a scent woman
As a newly wed
When my husband presented a
multiple choice of perfumes
I chose you.
Since then I bought you
In every possible size 
Without looking at the price
With no thought, no other explanation
I kept you with me always
When I sprayed a little on my wrist
The thought of my grand father
Spraying a drop of attar on his handkerchief
And tucking it into his pocket
Would flash by
The summer evenings in Eluru
When my aunts would sit 
With a mound of Jasmine flowers
Weaving into my hair
A five-hour art work
Layering my long hair
Filling the room with a fragrance
Intoxicating evenings
Inexplicable pride as I was
paraded through the neighbour homes
And the final prize would be
Presenting the work to my grand father
Who would ask me to turn around
Putting his hands on my shoulder
Pull me slightly closer to him
And inhale deeply the fragrance of fresh flower
And then turn me around 
And hand me some small change
For my patience to sit for so long
Making me feel like a rich queen
Who can splurge her earnings on
Treating oneself to an ice cream soda
------ All those memories flood by

Summer nights in our Hyderabad home 
When the terrace would be washed
With buckets of water
With heat rising by the touch of cold liquid
Floor cleaned
Mats laid
Covered by hand sown mattresses
Fresh white sheets spread and tucked 
Soft pillows completing the picture
A long line of mattresses pillows 
Welcoming us all to
Sleep under the stars
My Dad, grand parents
Siblings and visiting cousins
A long time of tired bodies
Falling asleep to the 
Breeze carrying the 
Fragrance of Jasmine and Mallepuvvu
From our back yard
Fun nights of stories and laughter
Slowly melting into a mixture
Snoring and silent breathing

I always imagined
A white handkerchief
Sprayed with Poeme
Adorning my body
As I am carried onto the funeral pyre
I somehow thought
That this was a death do us part deal

I had no idea that
Business decisions 
Would “retire” you
I was heart broken
When I heard that 
you were being 

Sending an SOS to my Friends
to buy every last bottle they could find
I went to the Duty free Shops
Whenever I travelled around the world
To buy the few that were left behind
My panic rises when
I see that storage is dwindling

When my nephew commented the other day
“Do you still use Poeme?
I realised that you have become a part of me
 A signature for my entry into any room

How I wish I could create you
And keep you with me forever
For now
I am slowly getting used
To the idea to bid adieu
To my lovely Poeme
I felt so silly to be so sentimental about a scent. May be it happened at a time when everything else seem to be falling apart. Being an entrepreneur is a very tough journey. Especially when you start the journey in your 40s and feel as though time is passing by with progress in profits not as fast paced as you had projected. I made America my home for 25 years and the move to India was the most exhilarating yet exhausting transition I ever made. So, even a silly thing like my favourite perfume discontinued, felt like a personal attack.  

Like all things that seem insurmountable, something totally unexpected happened that gave me a whole new perspective and whole new hope. (I realized that week is too long of a break for my final edition. So, look out for the final part on MondayJ)

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