Koshi is a small town in south India. It's like any other typical Indian small town, it is a trade hub for 18 surrounding villages. Far away from moribund city life, people's occupation is mainly trading. Villagers sell their different products in the town. Small shops mainly act as intermediate traders. A lot of shops which sells honey, jaggery, wheat, and other groceries. The town is self-sustained with all the basic facilities including a government school and a cooperative hospital. Koshi is connected to the nearest larger town by road, only two government bus travel on the path. Two in the morning and two back at night. People are happy with the minimum means and the town is one of the happiest towns nearby.
Koshi people are very fond of perfumes. Traditionally from ages, two perfume shops in town sold local perfume. One is in the centre of the market, which is very popular, it has a board reading "New Perfume Mart." Although nothing is new in the shop, It existed from the time of Hussain Chachas' grandfather. Now Hussain Chacha himself is in his late sixties.
An elderly gentleman Malappa is a regular buyer of perfume. He came to buy perfume at New Perfume Mart. In a typical smooth tone, he asked "Hussain chacha, which new perfumes you have?"
Hussain chacha gave his usual reply "Gulab Jal (rose), Mogra(jasmine), Gili Mitti Ki Khushbu (the aroma of first rain), Chandan (sandalwood), Jannat ul Firdaus (highest Heaven), Oud sir. We have some German Perfume too which is the latest."
Hussain has not added any new perfume for the past many years. Hussain would only mix the existing perfumes and say it was from Germany.
Malappa, as usual, purchased the Gulab Jal. Hussain Chacha has a lot of regular customers, and once a while new customers added to his list.
People selected the aroma as per their taste. So Koshi was one of the fragrance full towns. The two local perfumers would make handsome money.
All these were to be changed one day.
On a summer evening, a new perfumer came to the town. He said he was basically from Iran and wondered all over places selling perfume. He was a handsome man in the late fifties with a long beard and no moustache. His eyes were covered with Collyrium( Kajal in Hindi). He wore golden frame spectacles and had a smiling face. His oval-shaped hat had a fine embroidery on it.
He set up his perfume stall beneath a big peepal tree just outside the main market. On a big carpet, he set up some bottles of various shapes and sizes of yellow, blue and orange colours. Some decanters with oils served as attractions. He spoke broken Hindi, somehow he was able to communicate with the people.
He kept on advertising "Best perfume on sale, take once and get blessed."
Malappa visited him out of curiosity. He enquired "What is the price for Gulab Jal"
Perfumer first, gave him a sample to smell and replied: "It costs only 50 rupees, sir."
Malappa found the aroma very pleasant and for the surprise, the price was less than the half quoted elsewhere.
Malappa bargained "Can you give it for 40 rupees?".
Perfumer smiled again "okay give whatever u like, sir. But will you try this new perfume? It's my speciality, its called Aadat."
When Malappa smelled the new perfume, he had a bliss. The aroma was too good to resist.
Malappa enquired "This is the best aroma I ever enjoyed, and how much would this cost?"
Perfumer with a grin "same 40 rupees sir"
"I will buy it then", for the first time in 25 years Malappa had changed his perfume variety.
The Iranian perfumer had a hypnotic characteristic. Whoever went to him always purchases a perfume. His perfume had a characteristic aroma, was very cheap, almost half the price of the perfume sold elsewhere. The strange thing is all his customers purchased the same perfume named Aadat from his shop. The traditional perfumers of the town lost their business in days.
Days passed almost all the people in the town started using the same perfume. The town which was known to have a variety of aromas now had the same aroma everywhere. People started getting intoxicated by the perfume and rejected every other smell. People started developing a migraine, but still, the smell was too good to resist even for a single day. The perfume had become part of their daily life. People would get irritated if they did not get the perfume aroma for even a single day. There were a lot of family fights, some people even sold their essentials to purchase the perfume.
What once was the happy village, now had a lot of fights, thefts, and quarrels. The perfume became an integral part of their lives.
The disaster happened on one fine day. The Iranian perfumer disappeared without a trace. Numerous efforts by people of the town to find him went fruitless. The entire town went on depression.
Malappa now daily goes to Hussain Chacha and asks "Were you able to replicate the perfume I gave you in the bottle, this is my last bottle. I can pay you handsomely for it."
"I am trying hard sir, but cannot find the exact ingredients", Hussain Chachas regular reply.
Hussain finds it impossible to get anywhere near that smell. The same question has been asked to him by a lot of people. Owing to the losses he has also now closed his traditional shop. People are not willing to take any other perfume.
Now Koshi is one of the most depressed towns. Almost all people have developed a migraine, and people are finding it hard to survive. Even many people are taking sleep pills and are trying hard to end the perfume toxication.
People of Koshi have got a lesson for their life.
"Be extra careful when something is too good to be true"