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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

#AtoZChallenge - 4-26-2017 - Letter V

V for Vaporub
The change of season and the hasty switching on of air-conditioners has had its effect. Noses are either running or blocked, sneezes are heard everywhere and the head feels heavy, but it is not an ache, so no painkillers are called for.

This is when I whip out my trusty Vicks Vaporub bottle, and apply liberal amounts to the temples, around the nose and a little bit on the throat. Just the sharp smell, familiar since childhood, is so comforting. It may do me good, or it may not, but it is still the first line of defence against the oncoming sniffles.

However, this is not a promotional post on the benefits of this ointment. Rather, it set me thinking about how things become so much a part of our lives; more so if they have been part of our childhood. This particular bottle serves another purpose. I remember an aunt of mine was once talking about a saree and she was struggling to describe its colour. 

Then her face cleared, and she said, “It is the colour of Vicks!”
Literal-minded me: You mean a translucent white?
Aunt: No no, you know, that particular blue-green shade----
Me: Oh ,you mean the colour of the cap of a bottle of Vicks!
(That does sound like a French exercise, doesn’t it!)

In those days, we did not know teal from aqua or cyan from turquoise, so the next best thing was to compare the colour to a familiar one! One can extend the pondering over colour to that of the bottle itself----navy, indigo, cerulean, ultramarine?

 What rich words to describe this humble bottle of comfort and soothing!

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