It appeared first on my blogosphere as one of the quirky taglines of a blogsite. Curious hunting on Google revealed a treasure of information including its scientific cause. Going further… Australia had already beaten the Indians at naming the phenomenon!Oh what a drop.
Inspite of giving Zero and Yoga to the world, we couldn’t patent this stuff! Sad. Mitti ki sondhi khushboo ( Hindi for ‘the unique smell of the first rains on the baked and parched earth’) is a phrase usually associated with the first smell of first rains of monsoons in the Hindi /Urdu speaking Indian subcontinent. It has such an elevated position and appeal that no patriotic stuff from Bollywood goes without a kind mention of the smell. But I guess the people down under also have a similar experience with the first rains in the arid outback!
Petrichor is the word.”Petri – kho” is the pronunciation. This word has also been anointed one of the ten most beautiful words in English. Petrichor however, doesn’t evoke the same sentiments in my Indian heart, I wonder why? Is it because it is too late a word for an ancient feeling… out here in India? But we have taken to other English borrowings quite happily. The “sondhi khushboo” (“Treaty Fragrance”) is very Tropics oriented. When the mercury touches almost 120 degrees Fahrenheit… and there appears no respite from the melting flaking heat; the South West Monsoons arrive bringing in the relief from heat, like a healing touch, the earth gets a soothing sprinkling of the first rains.
The uniqueness of the Indian petrichor/mitti ki sondhi khushboo is…it’s emotional nudge at the senses. People who have a connect with the villages and humble beginnings of their forefathers… of mud caked premises and a collective past associated with farmlands and hinterlands, easily identify with the smell. So whenever there is the first rains ; reminiscences follow suit in almost every household with elders just when they start getting wafts of petrichor.🤔⁉️
No way!! With a sincere apology to the founding fathers of ‘petrichor’ I think I shall keep my ” mitti ki sondhi khushboo”( the treaty earthy smell of the first rains on our soil) for the time being till they can come up with something more soul satisfying…