A few months ago, Lounge wrote about the essentiality of breath—the 25,000 times we inhale and exhale every day has a deep impact on our physical and mental health—but there’s another aspect to getting breathing right. With every breath we take in smells that can alter our moods, make us feel nostalgic, happy, fearful or hungry. That makes smell the most direct and evocative of our senses. Or as James Nestor writes in Breath, “It’s the most intimate connection to our surroundings.” Yet we rarely pay attention to smell.
This week, in Lounge, we travel to Kannauj and Lucknow to explore scent, and meet the young entrepreneurs who are trying to put uniquely Indian smells into bottles and create home-grown brands. Indian perfumery has a long history, and jasmine, vetiver and other scents have always been exported and formed the base for luxury fragrances that are sold around the world. A younger, more creative generation of entrepreneurs is tapping into the gold mine of indigenous fragrances, creating subtle, contemporary scents and branding them as such for Indian buyers.
Other stories in this issue also relate to paying attention to what we often miss so that we can be more in tune with the world around us. In an interview, Barkha Dutt reflects on her past two years, reporting on the pandemic and the guilt she had to contend with while telling the stories of the real victims of covid-19. Sonali Gupta writes about patience being the most underestimated strength; like politeness, patience is often mistaken for weakness and passivity, when it’s really about being gentle yet firm.
On the other end of mindfulness is a story advocating sipping gin neat to help you better appreciate its botanicals and flavour notes. Our other stories on books, food, shows and art offer more ways to immerse yourself deeper in the world around you.
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