|Varanasi/Benares, the oldest city in India. by Cha.|
They soften and ease the summer by beautifying the humidity and heat into an aura of deliciousness.
When we reach the upper 90s with equal humidity during a heat wave in NYC, the city changes. We have to move a little more slowly so as not to melt into the pavement before we accomplish everything we must. In such times I wear perfume more for myself than anyone else, more for moral support, for a reference to elegance in a harsh environment. The weather is frequently difficult in NYC and taking too much notice of it makes it harder to function at the de rigueur top speed. Best to tap into all the accoutrements that remind you to be a civilized being, in a way similar to old school British colonialists who dressed not for the climate but for pride and morale.
A softer gentler way to do this is with perfume.
Trayee especially ornaments heated skin, emanating a dry decorative energy that is akin to a fragrantly spiced dish and/or a precious material stored in a cupboard protected by the aromatic spirits of an ancient culture. Its opening of the transparent smoke of powdered incense is a soft burning wood fragranced with flowers by exposure and proximity. On me as the smoke moves into a powdered wood phase a light licorice air arises.
The ginger/cinnamon/berry/jasmine/sandalwood/vetiver/oakmoss notes, among others, hold together, influencing each other rather than stepping out individually. This one harkens to the Vedic tradition, the face of India to which I respond most viscerally. I find myself eased by its ability to embellish strong heat and humidity and soothed by its balanced nature.
|Bani Thani, A miniature, Kishengarh, Jaipur, Rajasthan 18th Cent.|
Bombay Bling is a brilliantly white heady floral bouquet sweetened with lightly spiced lychee, mango and blackcurrant, tightly hugging its body-conscious partners patchouli, tobacco and vanilla. It is an olfactory tribute to the energy of Bollywood and unfurls a brightly smiling, glamorous air, imparting something of modern India’s internal chemistry, that is, the energy sparked between a marriage of ancient and modern. In this perfume happiness itself is the essence of beauty.
All this makes me think of the immensely rich Raj Quartet by Paul Scott, which I read over and over, that formed strong impressions of India for me, and now it seems time to read it again. These four magnificent books depict the dying embers of Edwardian British colonialism slowly burning down among the realities and dreams of India; whose deep traditions, cultures and internal forces are so layered and complex it could hardly be comprehended in any one person's lifetime. It’s a story of enormous culture clash describing a time when people did not wish to step outside their native cultural boundaries. It seems that only now, the English speaking West is beginning to get something of a handle on India. Certain aspects of modern yoga and meditation have helped crack open that ornate and massively heavy door for many people.
Now we may begin to gain the benefits of exposure to the ancient Indian traditions of perfume, especially as translated into forms we can apprehend and incorporate into daily life.
With these perfumes we have aromatic interpretations reaching us through the collaboration of Neela Vermeire, both a native of India and at home in the West, and the French Bertrand Duchaufour, accustomed to extensive and immersive travel in many cultures.
Each of these three perfumes calls to or even magnifies a different aspect of the personality of both of the wearer and India. For complete list of notes of each perfume, samples, pricing, etc. please visit the Neela Vermeire Creations site.
Music to listen to perfume by:
Sheila Chandra, combining her Indian and Western heritage in song:
Lagan Love/Nada Brahma
Copyright 2013, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
I received samples from Neela Vermeire, and Carlos J. Powell.