At Dr. Babu’s home
Telling about an olfactory memory lived in India? eh eh, I get a spontaneous smile on my lips. Perhaps it would be better to tell about a festival, the Elephant Festival of Jaipur in the Rajasthan region.
I was there with a friend, an expert in Ayurvedic medicine, we had an appointment with a doctor who specializes in the use of some preparations to treat skin diseases and we came to Jaipur right around the time of the elephant festival. Huge pachyderms all dressed up and painted parading, dancers and people with colorful dresses giving garlands of flowers, scents of spices and incense smoke everywhere, made me dizzy.
We arrived at Dr. Babu’s house, he was very hospitable and invited us to eat with him. Sharing food in India is a very important ritual. Outside the big cities it is not unusual to eat without cutlery, also because their traditional medicine says that by taking food with your hand you can feel the temperature before putting it in your mouth, I stress hand, because you only use one hand to eat, the right. If you don’t like spicy food or spices like cardamom and cumin, don’t go to India, it’s practically impossible to eat without it. After consuming the very spicy meal, Dr. Babu made us sit in his study and gave us a sandalwood box containing an ointment based on Ghi, a clarified butter typical of India, in which flower essences had been mixed. I do not remember much of his explanations regarding the properties of the ointment, but its scent remained imprinted on me, intoxicating, it was the chilli pepper that stimulated my sense of smell, I do not know, but at that moment I seemed to feel the best perfume of the world.