Having had the sheer blessing of getting to finally witness hasna hena in my grandfather’s garden while in Bangladesh this season, I can say there is actually nothing ‘dark’ about hasna hena’s breath except it being wonderfully mystical. Its heaven-ness is probably what tempts the snakes, more than anything devil-esque could have the power to do. The divine power and the angelic allure of hasna hena at midnight is incomparable. Word that this ‘night-blooming jasmine’ can scent a whole garden in the late evening, I had learned, was no exaggeration – even with my grandfather’s garden being particularly big. The hasna hena shrub in midnight bloom basically looks like an explosion of pretty little white shooting stars, and is dramatic beneath an ink sky already radiantly embellished with stars (in this part of Bangladesh, generally nights are incredibly clear and majestic).
The scent instinctively reminded me of bubblegum, but in the naturalest, nectar-syrupiest, tree-gummiest kind of way. For this particular sweetness was airy, fresh, elevating and dreamy. The vision that hasna hena inspired in me was one of being by a body of water with a fountain, sparkling at midnight… Stars endlessly glittering the sky and a jaw-dropping diamond-coloured moon… Air as fresh and welcoming as the gates of Paradise… Large, relaxed bubbles from the water rising heavenwards slowly, peacefully, and happily, as though they had a fairy consciousness of their own. I myself felt like one of these bubbles, euphoric as if filled with helium at the liberating fragrance of the sweet air. Such is the mesmerising quality of hasna hena. I look forward to researching more about it and other flowers related to it.