In 1972, London Magazine carried a piece on Mysore 50 years earlier by H. Venkatasubbiah, the son of a Brahmin rice merchant, a rarity in those days. Venkatasubbiah’s father was a member of the Merchants’ Association, and each day he entered the market building by a side entrance and climbed a flight of stairs to a small room upstairs (the room still exists and houses the association office).
“Downstairs, on either side of the entrance, were shops selling local perfumery and sandalsticks. When you pass an Indian perfumery shop you smell perfume. When you pass a perfumery shop in the west you smell only cardboard cartons… Indian perfumery seems to cater to two sensory perceptions at the same time, sight and smell.”
Churumuri gratefully acknowledges the support of the historian Ramachandra Guha in serving up this slice of history.