That’s what they call the biscuit-like odour of freshly-wetted-by-rain earth in Hindi – “Saundhi Mitti”. Just read this on Facebook. Reminds me how rich our Indian languages are when our own idioms need expression. I don’t recollect reading an appropriate phrase in Malayalam, but how about “Saugandhikamaya mannu.” I know my Malayalam is bad at times. Forgive me.
The brilliance in the air after the first shower is something different altogether. There’s a crisp quality to the brilliant greens and multi-hued shades that come leaching out, as if it were hidden by the heat and dust. The Saundhi Mitti smell lingers in the air, in the conscience, taking one back, till one is overwhelmed, trying to piece together one’s life all over again, grabbing at the pieces one has so far kept hidden in dim recesses of the mind.
Seeing those little ones walking to school reminds me of my own uniform, the new bag, the new umbrella and raincoat, all a distant memory, lingering still, over a suburb of Bombay I pass everyday to work. This place has changed, the buildings have been redeveloped, the neighbourhoods torn, the roads have disappeared into little hills of plastic. The suburb of Chembur has changed a lot. I look as if a stranger through the train’s window as I speed past to an unrelenting present of deadlines and mindless work. Time has taken its toll.
Work, work, work, work. When will I be liberated from work and smell the Saundhi Mitti?