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MALA: Blooms & Bad Women

TANWI NANDINI

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MALA: Blooms & Bad Women
MALA: Blooms & Bad Women

MALA: Blooms & Bad Women

TANWI NANDINI

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About Us

MALA is a podcast that unravels the notion of a "bad woman", the Spanish definition of MALA, a garland of flowers in Sanskrit, or in this podcast, Memory As Living Art. The first season of MALA features a house of formerly incarcerated women living in Queens, NY. The women interviewed for this project spent decades in the criminal justice system in New York State. We wanted to render their lives, before & after their convictions, as perfumes. Each fragrance is a composition of the scent memories amassed throughout their lifetime. These are notes from their childhood, of solace, of yearning, of trauma & escape. The act of releasing a scent from a vessel into the air is akin to their newfound freedom, to a life now outside. We welcome you to experience their stories. *Please note that each episode deals with intense themes that may be triggering for some listeners*

Latest Episodes

MALA PODCAST

EIn this final, harrowing episode of MALA, we meet Claude, who spent 25 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Claude's dresser is covered in about thirty perfumes, and she wears a different perfume for the time of day, her mood at that moment. There are designer and celebrity perfumes, like Perry Ellis to Katy Perry. Scents lock themselves into our memory, and perfume is a chance for ascension of our social class, our material circumstances. After being denied perfume for decades of her life, Claude inundates every new experience with a fragrance.

37 MIN2018 APR 5
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

EMary Bennett, a Marymount College graduate and counselor. Mary’s warm and inviting, she hugs me right away, and we sit on her bed for our chat. Her room smells like fresh laundry and traces of powdery, floral notes, or as Mary calls them, her old school perfumes. On her altar she’s arranged photographs of her kin and a vase of artificial roses nestled among plants. Within minutes, we’re transported into the most emotional memory of her childhood, the unexpected death of her father. This tragic event led her to move from Charleston, South Carolina to New York City, to live with her father’s sister. Her move echoes the migration of her aunt, a former sharecropper, and the Great Migration of millions of Black Americans from the South to cities in the East, Midwest and West. Mary’s crime is non-violent, but her path to incarceration reveals multiple traumas rooted in America’s violent, racist history. We discuss her struggles with poverty, drug addiction, being forced to grow up t...

21 MIN2018 MAR 31
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

ENikkie is the daughter of Greek immigrants. She fell in love with a fellow Greek-American man who admitted his violent past just before their wedding night. They were so deeply in love she took a chance. His abuse worsened and Nikkie’s life had become a nightmare, which led to the traumatic event that would send her to prison for 23 years. According to the Correctional Association of New York, 82% of incarcerated women are survivors of serious sexual and physical abuse before their time in prison. Domestic violence is intimate and terrifying and too often shamed and silenced.

28 MIN2018 MAR 22
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

ETasha grew up in Runyon Heights, a predominantly black suburb in Yonkers, not too far from where I grew up in Rockland County. Tasha’s story and olfactory memory bring her back to the scent of cotton linen, fresh air, being outside, far away from the struggle and pain of being at home. It’s something I notice in myself, when I’m in my lab, or writing fiction. What we gravitate towards is often right at the edge of our traumas. Cleanliness and fresh air juxtapose against more painful memories. I wanted to incorporate notes inspired by Tasha’s longing for comfort as a child with the meditative, grounded notes that speak to the woman she is today. The base is a gorgeous Mysore sandalwood and dry grass essence and musk, which blooms into a heart of natural white lotus absolute and water hyacinth. I wanted to play with base and heart as a metaphor for a lotus, a floral growing out of something fecal, beauty risen from dirt. *Please note that this episode deals with themes that may be...

26 MIN2018 MAR 15
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

EA podcast founded by novelist & perfumer Tanwi Nandini, the MALA podcast is where extraordinary women retell their stories of survival and reimagine them as scents. We’re here to unravel the notion of a bad woman, which is the Spanish definition of MALA, and means a garland of flowers in Sanskrit, or, in this podcast, Memory As Living Art. This season centers on a house of formerly incarcerated women in Flushing, Queens. Our first guest Sharon, a former corrections officer, who is now chef and owner of Just Soul Catering, a company she started after her release from prison. Sharon’s scent memories, as you’ll find out, connect her love of food, her West Indian heritage, the terror of the night that sent her to prison for 25 years, and her journey to freedom. We made a fragrance based on her story, a mélange of blood cedar, seaweed, turmeric and pimento berry, allspice and amber and ocean, a liminal space between the inside and the outside.

28 MIN2018 MAR 8
Comments
MALA PODCAST
the END

Latest Episodes

MALA PODCAST

EIn this final, harrowing episode of MALA, we meet Claude, who spent 25 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Claude's dresser is covered in about thirty perfumes, and she wears a different perfume for the time of day, her mood at that moment. There are designer and celebrity perfumes, like Perry Ellis to Katy Perry. Scents lock themselves into our memory, and perfume is a chance for ascension of our social class, our material circumstances. After being denied perfume for decades of her life, Claude inundates every new experience with a fragrance.

37 MIN2018 APR 5
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

EMary Bennett, a Marymount College graduate and counselor. Mary’s warm and inviting, she hugs me right away, and we sit on her bed for our chat. Her room smells like fresh laundry and traces of powdery, floral notes, or as Mary calls them, her old school perfumes. On her altar she’s arranged photographs of her kin and a vase of artificial roses nestled among plants. Within minutes, we’re transported into the most emotional memory of her childhood, the unexpected death of her father. This tragic event led her to move from Charleston, South Carolina to New York City, to live with her father’s sister. Her move echoes the migration of her aunt, a former sharecropper, and the Great Migration of millions of Black Americans from the South to cities in the East, Midwest and West. Mary’s crime is non-violent, but her path to incarceration reveals multiple traumas rooted in America’s violent, racist history. We discuss her struggles with poverty, drug addiction, being forced to grow up t...

21 MIN2018 MAR 31
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

ENikkie is the daughter of Greek immigrants. She fell in love with a fellow Greek-American man who admitted his violent past just before their wedding night. They were so deeply in love she took a chance. His abuse worsened and Nikkie’s life had become a nightmare, which led to the traumatic event that would send her to prison for 23 years. According to the Correctional Association of New York, 82% of incarcerated women are survivors of serious sexual and physical abuse before their time in prison. Domestic violence is intimate and terrifying and too often shamed and silenced.

28 MIN2018 MAR 22
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

ETasha grew up in Runyon Heights, a predominantly black suburb in Yonkers, not too far from where I grew up in Rockland County. Tasha’s story and olfactory memory bring her back to the scent of cotton linen, fresh air, being outside, far away from the struggle and pain of being at home. It’s something I notice in myself, when I’m in my lab, or writing fiction. What we gravitate towards is often right at the edge of our traumas. Cleanliness and fresh air juxtapose against more painful memories. I wanted to incorporate notes inspired by Tasha’s longing for comfort as a child with the meditative, grounded notes that speak to the woman she is today. The base is a gorgeous Mysore sandalwood and dry grass essence and musk, which blooms into a heart of natural white lotus absolute and water hyacinth. I wanted to play with base and heart as a metaphor for a lotus, a floral growing out of something fecal, beauty risen from dirt. *Please note that this episode deals with themes that may be...

26 MIN2018 MAR 15
Comments
MALA PODCAST

MALA PODCAST

EA podcast founded by novelist & perfumer Tanwi Nandini, the MALA podcast is where extraordinary women retell their stories of survival and reimagine them as scents. We’re here to unravel the notion of a bad woman, which is the Spanish definition of MALA, and means a garland of flowers in Sanskrit, or, in this podcast, Memory As Living Art. This season centers on a house of formerly incarcerated women in Flushing, Queens. Our first guest Sharon, a former corrections officer, who is now chef and owner of Just Soul Catering, a company she started after her release from prison. Sharon’s scent memories, as you’ll find out, connect her love of food, her West Indian heritage, the terror of the night that sent her to prison for 25 years, and her journey to freedom. We made a fragrance based on her story, a mélange of blood cedar, seaweed, turmeric and pimento berry, allspice and amber and ocean, a liminal space between the inside and the outside.

28 MIN2018 MAR 8
Comments
MALA PODCAST
the END
hmly
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