Leela recognized the fragrance from a distance, it was the one with which she had lived for the first decade of her life. She picked up the jasmine scented candle and handed it to the cashier along with a twenty dollar bill. “You will love this one”, said the cashier Sara as she wrapped the candle carefully with tissue, “I’m sure you will be back for more”. Leela looked up at her with a distant look in her eyes, collected her bag and whispered, “I wish I had gone back for more”.
It had been a long day, she felt drained; physically from the 9 hours at work and emotionally from the 90 minutes at Dr. Wang’s office. She had finalized a major deal for a high stake project for her bank that day, but had failed to bank anything from her session with Dr. Wang except for advice to brighten up her evenings with warm candles to keep the negative thoughts at bay.
She settled in her favorite chair with a bowl of mushroom soup with just a hint of cream. The warm soup felt like it was made for the crispy autumn night, just like the candle that burned on the table next to her. The fragrance was distinct like the memories it brought with it. Her face had always shone even from a distance like she carried the bright round sun on her forehead, lit by the diamonds on her ears and nose, clad in deeply dyed saris. The strand of jasmine flowers had always completed the look of Leela’s Amma, as she called her.
“I will be scared without you Amma”, were Leela’s last words to her. Amma’s reply echoed in her ears as clear as they had sounded thirty five years ago “I will always be with you Leelu, when you are in doubt think of me and you will know what to do”.
She had always been in doubt, since the day she had traveled, in what seemed an endless journey to live with her parents, who were no less strange than the new country itself.
To be continued....