Petrichor: The Smell of Nostalgia

Petrichor: The earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. This is how Wikipedia describes the word. For me however Petrichor is the smell of nostalgia. The “gilli mitti ke khusboo” that is one of my most favorite fragrances in the world. What does the smell mean to you?

I wrote this post on Facebook a couple of years back. It still rings as true today. We got a beautiful shower of rain today after many hot dry days. As the sky rumbled and the rain drenched the dry cracked soil, the air filled with the most beautiful smell of Petrichor and brought back the same feelings.

It started raining today just after dinner. I rushed to bring inside the kids’ toys and some blankets lying on the grass. As I stepped outdoors I was hit by the most amazing fragrance of soil soaking in the light rain. This smell brought back a million different memories. The childhood excitement of a long-awaited rain in the scorching summers of Pakistan. Dancing in the rain and jumping in the puddles before being huddled inside the warmth of my parents’ house, to be greeted by the aroma of freshly fried pakoras.

raining in islamabad

The youthful eagerness of the class in college to finish so we could rush outside and make a plan to head to the Margalla hills and enjoy the view of Islamabad from Peersohawa holding a warm cup of dhaba chai. The memory of explaining to LUMS friends from Lahore and Karachi that rainy weather meant just one thing: ‘Islamabad wala mausam‘. Watching the rain drops fall from my office window and admiring the clouds hovering over the Margalla Hills.

So many memories and emotions and one binding force: ‘Gilli Mitti‘ (Petrchor). Today I will try to enjoy a warm cup of chai while looking at the falling rain, maybe fry some pakoras and definitely listen to a lot of Nazia Hasan. I will do all this to recreate and maybe relive some of that magic. The magic that only the fragrance of this wet Mitti (soil) unlocks.

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One thought on “Petrichor: The Smell of Nostalgia

  1. Oh I too love the smell of gilli matti. It takes me back to Pakistan each time. When I crave that ‘gilli mitti’ ki khusboo I smell Khak-e-shifa. Oh there’s nothing like it. *goes and smells khak-e-shifa* ?

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