I live in a small basement flat towards the edge of the building, so that my room’s windows give me an open view of the mountains that the building overlooks. My room’s door to the outside opens to a wall whose top end joins with the ground floor. As I went outside from my room’s door to look at the hotel lights, at the top of the mountain ahead of me, that shimmer in a distant dream, I smelt of a nostalgic fragrance — a body odour.
To know me, is to know that I’m a very forgetful person. Google keep and Google Allo reminders are akin to life savers for me. But there I was standing with my chin up, letting the cool monsoon breeze play with me, suddenly aware of this fragrance, and that too nothing other but a body odour. I even asked myself in the initial moments, out of disbelief — How do you know its body odour? I couldn’t answer, but I knew it was that.
I closed my eyes and I saw a familiar face of a now dead person — Malvika Khurana, the first love of my life (1st grade — 5th grade). Slightly plagued teeth, thick lips such that the saliva would often find ways to stick while the lips parted, like pizza cheese struggles. Shoulder length hair, mouth never stopping speaking. Unusually big brown eyes, cold skin whenever one’d touch. She used to threaten so perfectly, it left I was with a troop leader – I felt like following her all the time. My favourite time with her used to be Saturday end of the day hourly activity periods, where she would take my sweaty hand, not minding the wet, and we’d rush to the activity room together. My most jealous times used to be when my classmates would pair her up with Suryansh.
I do not know how I remember her exact body odour, a mix of sweat + the innate body fragrance (I like how bodies smell). I stood there, wind present still, bringing this odd fragrance after all these years, like it was yesterday that I left our school to join a new one in 6th grade. It’s been 7 years since she died in a car accident, it’s been 15 years since I last saw her. I do not know why the wind would bring me a fragrance so familiar, memory so fresh that I’d question my mind’s sanity. I think, among the dreamy lights that were on the top of the mountain, I myself went into a dream for a while, or perhaps time traveled a certain way which is yet to be explored by science fiction writers. I could taste her fragrance on my tongue.
My mother called me inside for dinner, I sighed. Only if I could have been with her a little longer. Would that have made a difference?