Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A fragrance called Singapore

When you travel to some place, what do you remember the most?
The sights...the sounds...the people...and the smells...Ahh! Yes. The smells of a place...those are what transport you back there in an instant. All you need to do is take a deep breath and close your eyes.
It is this experience, I narrate in this short post first, most vivid memory of Singapore, and the one which remains with me to this day.

As I stepped our of the aircraft, on to the tarmac of Changi Airport, Singapore, it was my sense of smell was seduced. The aer was filled with fragrance...the exact opposite of the smell we had left behind (no pun intended), at Mumbai airport.

I felt like I was in God's own fragrant country. I followed the sweet, tangy, fruity fragrance and even before I could enter the country, we were in the Garden of Eden...Changi Airport's butterfly garden.

Hundreds of butterflies, little splashes of rainbows, fluttering in the aer, oblivious to the several eyes which were following their aerial dance, not synchronized but yet rhythmic. Fighting for space on a tray filled with pineapple pieces and honey...butterflies everywhere.  Every time they fluttered, they fanned the sweet smells emanating from the fruits and flowers. Aah! Heavenly. It was instantly invigorating...and what a wonderful beginning to an exciting vacation.

They flitted about in absolute abandon, challenging one another, wooing us with their bright colours...the flowers of the garden, breathing fragrance into the aer of Singapore. Wonderful, wonderful experience. Half an hour later, we gently remembered that there was more of Singapore to be seen.

The fragrance followed us everywhere...the Jurong Bird Park, the Night Safari...the Songs of the Sea at Sentosa Island...the hot, pungent fragrance of the street foods, the sweet smells which dotted the Singapore Subway...Singapore was not only a visual, but also an olfactory delight.

There are many many stories and anecdotes of this wonderful country but too many to fit into this small blog post. So I shall stay to the topic and leave them for some other time. We eventually came back with bagfuls of wonderful moments and tons of memorabilia. But for me, it is something else which brings me back the memories of that wonderful country.

Every time I cut a pineapple or open my jar of honey, my nose sends a signal to that part of my brain which stores memories. All I have to then do, is shut my eyes. The darkness is replaced by the little rainbow coloured butterflies, the sweet, pungent smells of honey, fruit and flowers and magically, almost instantly ...I am there.


NOTE: This post is a written as a part of a contest for Godrej Aer. To know more about how fragrances can instantly take you to another place, visit


  1. Wow! I also mentioned Changi Airport in my post but mentioned that I could not smell it as well as I should have. I am happy that you had a different experience, and hope that you will do well in the contest.

    1. :D. I read your post. Nice one too. I'm hoping that, with my post, I took you back to the smells of Changi Airport and the next time you go there, your nose seeks out the pineapples, honey and gorgeous butterflies.