plug-in air freshener

It’s ironic how Manata’s post reminded me of my own memories of flowers in Pakistan. My grandmother would take the small jasmine flowers and place them in her ear lobe as earrings. And at weddings the bunches of tiny white flowers can be seen hanging over the bride’s shoulder; when you bend close to congratulate her, you can catch a whiff of the intoxicating sweetness. As I type this, I can smell the faint sweetness of honeysuckle….unfortunately, it isn’t from my garden but from my plug-in air freshener. It is interesting how these beautiful smells from the east have found themselves on specialty store shelves in America as scented candles, sprays and air fresheners. Smells that come from flowers sold for a few rupees are bottled up, marketed as “exotic fragrance from the east” and sold in expensive containers. My husband and I get so excited anytime we find a candle or perfume that smells like jasmine, fresh roses, or sandalwood. And we try to fill our home with these smells to compensate for the fact that we can’t have a lush garden outside with all these flowers native to our homeland. With Valentine’s day just a few days ago, I’m sure grocery stores and florists around the world are struggling to sell off the last remaining fresh cut flowers. Below is another pic from BBC that is quite thought- provoking.

Kenyan refugee boy smells a rose

A boy displaced by recent violence in Kenya smells a rose at a refugee camp in Nairobi’s Mathare slum. Kenyan flowers account for about a quarter of Europe’s cut flower imports.



Filed under Africa, America, culture, homeland, Pakistan

2 responses to “plug-in air freshener

  1. Manata

    Such a great, though-provoking post Fatima. The marketing and repackaging of these smells from countries around the world in a sense also implicitly exoticize the “East”… while I can see the dangers in this, at the same time these scents that we find in markets around our towns have familiarized people with cultures that they may otherwise never get exposed to.

  2. Samira

    powerful and amazing picture. thank you for your post.

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