Rear Rural

Would you buy a tin of cow fart only because you are missing home? As a city person, I cannot digest (oops) this, but is it really about nostalgia? In Germany, incidentally a country known more for its streamlined technology rather than cattle, the £5 product is a hit. The ad says:

“Simply put your nose to the tin and peel back the lid for the authentic smell of the country”.

My experiences with the countryside have been rather interesting, both in India as well as abroad, although at home we just call them villages. I get all excited about the quiet, the pure air, away from the hub, no traffic, simple people, organic food and after a few days I become restless.

The silence isn’t soothing; it is desultory. A nose that has become accustomed to what may be industrial fumes is assailed with all kinds of ‘natural’ smells that may not be as harmless, especially if they are in unhygienic surroundings. I dislike the hub and stay away from it at home, but when I am in this rural utopia and reach the city I want to jump with joy. And I don’t care much for organic food. In a village on the outskirts of Mumbai I have had the most simple food prepared by a most simple woman that gave me a bad tummy and a bad temper because she was so nice and wanted to know why I did not like doing womanly things.

The barking of dogs, the crowing of cocks and shepherds going “harrrrr” as they sauntered off gave me many a photo-op, and a few smiles, but then I wanted the alarm clock to ring. Besides, for how long can one lovingly watch an insect perched on the hand or stand transfixed before a beehive? Honey, I've got the stuff they do. Really. And the special smells did not register, although I am a ‘nosey’ person.

I admit I am a sniffer and in school would go down on buses to inhale petrol fumes. So, you might well shoot back, who am I to question this innovative bottled wind-breaking idea?

I was not buying the fumes or missing them. If there wasn’t a bus around I wouldn’t go crawling beneath cars. One does not need to think much to figure out that this is merely a new market. As the designer of the ‘Countryside air to go’ project said:

“We hope to make people who miss the countryside happy and remind them of home. We are planning other smells such as horse, straw, pigs and manure. But most people miss the smell of the cows in the country, not really surprising as much of the smell is from cows.”

It is pretty harmless, of course. I wonder what happens when we miss people.

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