HYDERABAD:That the soaring temperatures have something to do with attars flying off the shelves in the Old City might be something hard to believe. But, the fact that attars are specifically designed not only for people of various age groups but also for various seasons justifies its increased sale in and around the Old City.
Not many know that the summer-specific attars, when applied to the body, not only makes one smell nice but also cools down the body. Kashish, for instance, is one such summer-specific attar. Mohammed Ghouse, an attar shop owner near the Mecca Masjid, says, "The sale of Kashish, made specifically for summers, has gone up in the recent days. It is a natural perfume made from flowers. Firstly, it is buried in the ground for a few days. After taking it out, it is wrapped in white cloth and kept outside. We let it drench in dew for some days. After that, we squeeze out the extract, mix it with compounds to give it different fragrance - jasmine, rose, sunflower and so on. The process starts much ahead of summer's onset."
Mohammed Imran Khan, another attar shop owner near the Masjid, however prefers perfume made of khas, or what we commonly call vetiver, over Kashish. "Khas attars are so potent that if you apply it during winters, you are sure to get sick," Khan says.
Abdullah Jafer, co-owner of Shah Perfumes and Gems established in 1937, reiterates the same and says that most people, nowadays, are buying flower-based or khas perfumes, which have a cooling effect.
The sale, however, has not been the same for everyone in the industry which has a stiff competition from branded deodrants and sprays.
For Ramanlal (70), co-owner of the 78-year-old Purandas Motilal, the footfall on most of the days is low. Located in a bustling corner of the Gulzar Houz, Ramanlal has several anecdotes about perfumes. His grandfather had shifted from Gujarat in the late 1890s and set up a perfume shop in Hyderabad. Apparently, he became so famous that he was selected as the official supplier to the Nizams in the 1920s.
Asked why despite the myriad benefits of attar, youngsters prefer deodrants and sprays, he sums its up in one simple line: "Mostly they want to show off."
And his statement holds water as a 2015 research paper called 'Reinventing a Traditional Green Product In the Contemporary Globalised World' by Dr Soma Sengupta and Dr Anjan Sen, reiterates the same. The paper, which studied the reasons behind why people don't generally use attars, ranks "Not considered as hip/smart to use products in comparison to renowned brands or perfumes" as the most commonly-cited reason. Ranked number two is: "Believes that the product is used by only people belonging to a certain community."