Moosa P.I.K. has been making and selling perfumes in the city for 20 years now
It is a hot summer afternoon in May. The bustling N.H. Road in the Town Hall area of the city is dotted with stores selling chemical dyes and colours. People carry barrels of colour in and out of these stores. In the middle of all this action, I spot a little store, tucked away. It is called The Indian Attar Store.
Fragrances waft around me as I enter. I can immediately smell the jasmine flower. Elegant glass bottles glint on the shelves, filled with perfumes in purple, yellow, orange and brown. There are agarbathies too. A couple of young boys try out the perfumes on their wrists. They finally choose a musk fragrance and are on their way.
The Indian Attar Store has been in the business of signature fragrances for 20 years now. Meet Moosa P.I.K, the man who makes these perfumes. Soft spoken Moosa has been making perfumes since he was a little boy. “I learnt from my father. He used to run a store in our hometown, Thalassery, Kerala. I used to go and watch him mix the chemicals in our factory. My brothers run that store,” he says.
Twenty years ago, Moosa moved to Coimbatore and set up shop here. “I don't know how many fragrances I have made till date,” says Moosa. The store currently stocks fragrances of flowers such as rose, jasmine, chemba, lily and many more. For those who like contemporary fragrances, Moosa has come up with his signature musk, black, brut and cool water. And for people willing to spend a little more money, there is sandalwood.
Placed right in front of him at the moment is a brown concoction in glass bottles. These are new fragrances he is working on. But he is reluctant to reveal what they are.
The process involves mixing a combination of chemicals in a barrel. The mixture is then stirred over two-three days and set aside. No one is allowed into the room where Moosa works on his perfumes. “That is where the essence of it lies,” he says. He makes his perfumes in a room right on top of his store.
“It is all a process of trial and error,” he says. A perfume maker needs to know the note (fragrance) of each chemical for him to arrive at the desired fragrance. There are over 1000 such chemicals. “I began by learning the names of these chemicals,” he says. As new chemicals arrive in the market, chemical companies in Meerut and Mumbai send him samples of these chemicals.
Moosa's factory also manufactures agarbathies for which he makes the fragrances. “This is trickier than making perfumes as the fragrance needs to last even as the agarbathie burns,” he explains. Moosa has no background in Chemistry. “I've only completed my schooling,” he says.
Moosa also makes fragrances for around 15 soap companies in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Local traders also buy perfumes in bulk from him and package and sell it under their own brand names. The Indian Attar Store also has individual customers who come back for a favourite perfume, again and again.
Does Moosa have a favourite perfume? He smiles, “I like them all,” I don't need to use a perfume because I spend all day with them. So, I smell quite good.”
The Indian Attar store is located at 547, N.H. Road.
For details, call: 0422-2397871/ 2305480.