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Selling perfumes


Amman, 1990

We were looking at the yachts and sailing boats from the high, it was near Palermo in Sicily.

My small daughter told me: “Papi, I want to buy a boat when I am grown up”.

“It is easy” I replied, “you just have to sell perfumes to the people, and do you know why it is easy? because everybody likes good smells”.

Baba Farid, one of the greatest saints of the subcontinent, ended up his life in a small village of Punjab, Pakpattan.

That was his mission. Other saints were in Dehli or Lahore, two great cities of all times, seats of power and civilization, they had thousands of disciples, and they advised kings and viziers.

He taught, fed and cured backward village folks all his life.

I spent a year or so in Pakpattan, stuck there by destiny as had been Baba Farid, and I had a lot of time for reading and studying the life of the saint.

His were simple teachings for simple people. I remember very well one of his sayings: “do not try to sell to the people what they do not want to buy”.

Our marketing geniuses have turned the problem around for their clients: “make people desire what they don’t want to buy”, but for us perfumers the point to realize is that everybody wants to smell good and to live in a nice smelling environment.

Our job of selling perfumes is much easier than the one of other producers.
There is an Arab proverb that goes like that: “A pious person is like the Perfumer, if he does not give you some perfume, at least you will enjoy his nice fumes.

The corrupt person is like the blacksmith: if he does nut burn you with his fire, at least he will suffocate you with his smoke”.