Detergent Memories

via Daily Prompt: Fragrance

She was walking down a supermarket aisle, shopping cart loaded with groceries and other home necessities. She was almost done. Only the cleaning supplies were left to be picked up.

She stopped before a display of detergents and automatically reached for the same detergent she had been using for years, when her hand stopped and her eyes fell on the lone packet of Nirma, tucked far away into a corner. It had gathered dust for no one used that brand anymore. But to her that brand meant a lot of things.

What was it, that jingle that made the brand famous? She racked her brain to remember the tune and the words. It had been years since that jingle played on the TV or on the radio. Then she remembered,

‘Washing powder Nirma, washing powder Nirma…

Doodh si safedi, Nirma se aaye,

Rangeen kapda bhi khil, khil, jaaye.

Sabki pasand Nirmaaaa…

Washing powder Nirma, washing powder Nirma…’

She stood at the spot transfixed, her synapses transmitting those lost memories of childhood. Her mother, the laundry, the way her tender hands would soak, scrub and wring out bucket loads of clothes, bedsheets and linens like they weighed nothing. There were no washing machines back then. Women had to do the laundry by hand. Her Mother was always at the courtyard of their home in the mornings, wringing out the bucket loads of laundry she had washed.

How she missed her. It had been twenty years now.

The detergent and her Mother had a special connection. Her Mother’s clothes always wore the faint fragrance of the detergent – clean, lemony, motherly. Her nostrils flared at the memory of that fragrance she associated with affection and security, and longing hit her like a physical thing.

She knew she shouldn’t but she ripped open the packet, and as the first strong waft of the detergent’s perfume hit her nose, memories of her Mother crashed into her like tidal waves.

She didn’t know how long she stood there just smelling the detergent. She must have looked funny because someone broke her reverie, “Ma’am, I’m afraid you’ll have to buy that now.”

She smiled at the Stock boy. “How many of these do you have? I’d like to buy them all”.

In response to the Daily Prompt: Fragrance 


18555851_100676450514066_4494546682437471084_n.jpgCopyright ©2017 Pradita Kapahi.

All rights reserved.

Image Credits: The Country Farm Home

56 thoughts on “Detergent Memories

      • Yup as you said nanihal, I have also something like that. Actually here jute cultivation crop is very popular and in that there is a process in which cut plants have to keep in knee deep waters for several days. That water generally accumulates in rainy season in road side pits. So when cut plants are kept in waters they used to rot.. and a very peculiar rotten water smell comes when you cross. But believe me that smell doesn’t offend your mood. So whenever a rotten water smell touches my nose buds I almost travel to those wet lands of my nanihal which is very near to nepal border in jogbani, bihar.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love the way you weaved this prompt, expressing what many of us middle-class children felt and with the strong perfume piercing our nostril and bringing this fragrance of life. Love the end, Pradita. This ad about Nirma always comes to the mind on DD!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Vishal. There were so many similar ads that always remind us of our childhood days in India. LAxman Sylvania, Bajaj, Dhara, Amul… I could go on an on. Thank you and I’m glad it make you take a trip down memory lane 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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