How strangely evocative a scent can be.

The sense of smell is such a powerful trigger when it comes to memory and emotion.  I love it when it pulls he rug from under your feet and suddenly dumps you in another time and place.

This afternoon, walking home in the cold gloom, I walked past a garden and was hit by this sweet, musky scent, almost cloying, that triggered a feeling in me that I hadn’t felt in probably 15 years. 

I have no idea what particular plant it came from, but it put me in mind of summer evenings, walking home from the pub, possibly slightly tipsy and in the company of good friends.  The feeling of being free from worry enveloped me; no need to worry about your bills, your career or your health.  Life is just one extended weekend with patches of work to help fuel your next night out.

It’s not that I regret where I am now at all, but it was a small, pleasing shock to remember a time when I could be so blase about my life.

In India, just after arriving after nine or so hours of flying and being away from my family for two days already, I remember being so shocked by the thick, dusty atmosphere and the strange quality of light, the noise and chatter of a language I didn’t understand.

Tired, homesick and edgy I got into the van that would drive us to our hostel.  Yet out on the roads, they had been spraying water to keep down the dust.  Through the gloom, I could see small apartment blocks up on shallow rises and this sight, combined with the after-storm smell of wet earth, immediately transported me to my infancy and the block of flats where my Grandmother lived in Thornhill, Southampton.  Of all the things I expected Delhi to smell of, late 70’s Southampton, was not one of them…