Of smells, memories and little things

[Two friends, the blogger and the bugger, meet again over a weekend when they don’t have to do anything else but chat about things and share ideas]


“Okay, so what are we doing today? (sipping from a glass of beer)”

“We can play a game!”

“Another one of your games - why?”

“Let’s say for something new, something unique as well- (pauses for a while) and clearly you don’t have anything else to do.”

“Okay, shoot!”

“Good, define smell to me.”

“What kind of game is this?”

“Let’s just go on with it – tell me what’s smell to you?”

“Ummm, okay (scratches head) …the sensation that results when olfactory receptors in the nose are stimulated by particular chemicals in gaseous form?”

“Good play with words, but that is way too technical – will try a different approach today.”

“I don’t think that’s possible!!!”

“It is (smiles), tell me who wore a black sleeveless to work on last Friday, one that raised eyebrows?”

“Tiyasha, what has that to do with this game?”

“Well, that was a random memory check – tells me you are quite good with it. Two weeks gone and you still remember who wore what that is if it is of interest to you…right?”

“(Shrugs) You have a point, so what?”

“Now, you give me nostalgic memories of smells – five of them, at least.” 

“Err…that day Tiyasha was also wearing a lavender perfume.”

“That one doesn’t count…”


“Unless you don’t want to fail the game and buy me the next round of drink, go on..”

“Umm, okay – how about the smell of biriyani, when they remove the lid of the container?”

“You mean the smell of zafran? No that doesn’t count either.”

“Why? I get nostalgic when the smell hits my nose buds.”

“Nostalgic or hungry?”

“(shrugs again) Okay, okay – I give up, you win…I can’t recall five such smells….(strikes the table a few times lightly and looks up ominously). Not quite a game unless we both play – is it?”

“What do you mean?”

“I will buy you the next round and another thereafter, if you can come up with five such memorable smells and don’t be figurative. Give me smells that I can remember too.”

“I will happily comply.”

“Knowing fully well when you have certain percentage of ethyl alcohol in your diet, your olfactory receptors don’t function that good.”

“(smiles) Told you, it’s a different kind of game and then again the fact that you are worried about, would supposedly open your mind – help you do better in this game.”

“Fair enough – prove it.”

“Okay, let us begin. You mentioned the smell of a dish – so lets start with that but I will strive to get closer than that. Till this date, I can feel the smell of vanilla essence my mom used to put as an ingredient, while baking cakes at home, and that usually happened around the time of Christmas and new year. Whenever, I happen to pick up the smell even today, I can go back and far into those days of my childhood when I sniffed that smell and reached the old baking oven we had.”

“Wow, not bad…go on”

“You said something about lavender – that’s a perfume, yes – but what is the original source of such heavenly fragrances? Flowers of course. These days we live in small apartments mostly and can’t afford the luxury of a garden. I am not an exception, but unlike confining my nose buds to pick up the signature of a brand, I can actually remember the scent of flowers that grew in our garden, when we lived in the house of suburbs of Kolkata. Rose, to me, is more famous than it actually should be when it comes to its smell because its more shrill than pleasant. The flowers I loved as a kid were all white – Tube rose, gardenia or night blooming jasmine, specially the last, because I could wake up in the morning and feel it along with the freshness – it’s heavenly, so to speak.”

“(Lowers his head and nods in agreement) Can’t agree more. It’s been a long time that I kept flowers at home.”

“Now, lets explore some other aspects-“

“Like what?”

“Surely you have memories of playing ‘Holi’ as a child?”

“Who doesn’t?”

“Before the chemicals called colours were so abundant and was the primary artefact of Holi, people used abir (or Gulal) more – specially, when the older ones played Holi with the younger ones. That used to have floral extract along with mica dust – do you remember the smell it originally had? You won’t find it in all varieties of the same product in todays market.”

“Wholly shit, I do.”

“See, told you – we will get there, define senses of smell, differently – through memories. Looks like you have a memory like sieve.”

“Err! sorry – you know how life is these days, very little time to actually think and keep your good memories alive”

“Okay – you want me to go on?”

“You mean there are more?”

“Oh yes – talk about monsoons – do you remember, when monsoon first arrives, the droplets of fresh water hits the dried, hard soil and the very natural smell that comes out and stays around. No matter how old I grow, I won’t forget the smell, because it marked the beginning of the rainy season to me. These days, we live rather far from the actual ground level, to take a notice – but if you are careful, or have stayed in the village during the advent of the season, you will know what I am talking about – if you have missed the reference to it in numerous literary examples you have overlooked.”

“OHhh! yes, who doesn’t. You are a real eye opener. What else do you have on your list?”


“Gunpowder? since when did you become terrorist of some sort?”

“Dumbo – I am not talking about explosives, but the mixture of carbon, sulpher and potassium nitrate – that is largely used for fireworks – and who knows better that how eagerly waited for Diwali to use the fire crackers of all sorts – the smell of freshly burnt fire cracker used to linger in the air for a few minutes. That would be something without which my memories of childhood would be incomplete.”

“My bad, my bad….(looks sternly at the glass of beer), the smell of beer is also something, isn’t it? Remember when we first had it?”

“(Laughs) Always – some memories, they are, of the first time.”

“So you are not discarding at least one of my suggestions, are you!”

“It’s okay – you have got the idea.”

“Now that you have inspired me to hunt my memories for smells I have always loved  - what do you think about the smell of the babies – don’t you think that they have a special, heavenly smell?”

“My dear Watson, that’s not their own smell – it’s the baby powder most commonly used.”

“Oops, told you my sensors don’t sense well with beer – so another round?”

“On your tab – definitely.”

Then we both laughed, heartily – so many memories had taken over larger part of our discussion.

This is my entry for the contest - Smelly To Smiley! organized by AmbiPurIndia on IndiBlogger 


Tuhina Mahan said...

Thanks for the trip down the memory lane. I loved it. Very nicely written.

Abhra said...

Thank you for your visit to my blog. I am glad that you like it.

Unknown said...

Very nicely written post indeed Abhra.. And all the best for the contest :)

Abhra said...

Thanks Binu. It means a lot to me.

Karishma said...

One of the best entries for the contest.. Good luck

Abhra said...

Thank you so much! These words coming from an IndiBlogger award winner like you means a lot to me.

abhidip said...

good one ..:)
the best part was the smell of soil in fist monsoon rain ......really nostalgic ....

Abhra said...

Thanks Abhidip, yes it always is.

Khushboo said...

Made me nostalgic Abhra. It is beautifully written :)

Abhra said...

Khurboo, Thank you so much. I am glad to learn that you like it.

D D said...

You have mentioned some of the fragrances which I like very much!

D D said...

And yes All the best to you for the contest!

Abhra said...

Thank you so much - I just tried to revive some of the memories. Though after finishing, I felt as if I have missed out one or two.

sudha...a touch of madness said...

Loved the conversation :D All the best for the contest!

Do breeze past my entry: http://thelidislifted.blogspot.in/2013/08/its-you-and-me-love.html

Abhra said...

Thanks a lot Sudha. Sure, I will give it a read and let you know what I think.

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