Wednesday 4 September 2013


Minds are like Parachutes; they only function when open.’
-Thomas Dewar

We never have to travel very far to find-
Some triggers easily launch the mind,
On a trip through labyrinthine lanes,
By gently opening doors & panes!
We revisit the sights, sounds, tastes & smells,
Our mind starts ringing the memory-bells!
The cathartic experience looks & smells good,
Like, in a drought, finding nourishing Soul-food…

The explorer in me found herself embarking on a voyage down the memory lane when the topic ‘Smelly To Smiley!’ was posed...

Tea- Made in a huge vessel in the palatial home of my Paternal Grandparents joint-family, the aromatic smell of Tea reached the Living-Room though the kitchen is nearly half a kilometre away! I used this as an example to explain the concept of Diffusion in Science to my kid! 

Grandma's Cupboards- with Ironed Clothes
Notice the Year of Manufacture- 1952!

Grandma - My Paternal Grandmother was extremely brand-loyal. She'd only use- Colgate Toothpaste, Rexona Soap, Emami Cream & Shringaar Kumkum. I loved the rich smell as she applied red Kumkum on her forehead as Bindi, the size of which was double the size of a present Rs 2 coin! Her Cupboards still have the smell of freshly-ironed-clothes. Just like my mind, they store her memories… 

Turmeric- Perks me up as I remember playing games in my Paternal Grandfather’s huge godown filled with sacks of Turmeric! We had to wash our yellow hands and feet after playing there!

Raghu's Dahibara Aludum, Cuttack
  Dahibara Aludum

Curd- My Maternal Grandfather would travel about a 100 kilometres just to get Dahibara-Aludum for us from Cuttack from a very famous vendor named Raghu. 
And also sweets and snacks from all the places he visited!

Granny - Her entire courtyard was filled with cut-fruits and vegetables that she had put in the sun to dry, to prepare varieties of Pickles. In the afternoon, when the elders had their siesta, it was fun-afternoon-party-time for me and my cousins as we gorged on the spicy treats…! We plucked and ate fresh Fruits directly from the trees- Mango, Guava, Jack-fruit, Custard-Apple... in her huge Orchard. We used to call all the hawkers passing by. We would be richer with oven-fresh Bakery products like buns, biscuits and cakes

Mom- Miss my Mom’s Maachha Besara (Odia* Dish- Fried fish in Mustard Oil & Mustard paste gravy). Also the warm-Mustard Oil-with-Garlic-massage to heal my cold! The smell of Coconut Oil reminds me of the hours she spent oiling and plaiting my hair… Sandalwood, Incense, Camphor, Ghee, Talcum Powder and Fragrant Soaps all remind me of my Mom, who loved these. My Mom was an angel who looked radiant & smelled fresh at all times of the day. God loved her and took her away last year so that she could spread her radiance and fragrance in His Home…

Books, Newspapers and Magazines- Mountains of subscribed copies ready to cast their wisdom spells & smells! Papa is all set to burn the midnight oil when he returns from his frequent business trips. In his CA firm, there are piles of files and a huge library of books. There's another big library at home too! Each New Year, Papa gifts us new Calendar and Diaries- their smells ring in new hopes, aspirations and easy-to-make-but-hard-to-maintain-resolutions!

Ganesh Puja & Rangoli

Ink- Smelling the half-filled bottle of ink on my study-table fills me with instant bliss…!
I climbed the education-ladder armed with a gold-nibbed fountain-pen fuelled by Ink;
I won praise (and extra-marks!) for my neat and nice hand-writing! 

I love the smell of Success & Confidence that I get to experience whenever I smell my Achievements- Certificates, Medals & Trophies of different sizes & shapes…! 

Kid- Receiving my kid’s Certificates and Prizes, I smell pride! My kid still uses Johnson’s Baby products & smells so cool! Festivals & Rangoli’s rich smells makes me feel enriched with many celebrations and memories like this one in the pic- My kid loves to compete in creating Rangoli!

Paint- The can of leftover paint in my home reminds me of the litres of paint I personally bought to get our new flat painted! My hubby was away abroad, while I was juggling my office, kid and home! As I had never purchased paint before, the smell of paint signifies my giant leap- charting new territories and exploring the unknown like crossing seas! 
Writing about  smells has made me hungry. I decide to have a snack- ‘Ah! I can have the Jagannath Temple’s Gaja (a sweet)! As I open the air-tight container where it is stored, the Gaja’s smell takes me on a free trip to the - Lord JagannathTemple, Puri, Odisha!

Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri 

What’s more, I recollect the other associated memories!
Having the Khaja now makes me feel blessed.

Nothing can beat the taste and smell of the divine Mahaprasad (called Abhada) served there that unites people It is said that Goddess MahaLakshmi (the wife of Lord Jagannath) herself cooks there- in the largest kitchen in the world.

Mahaprasad, Lord Jagannath Temple
Perfumes- The fragrance of my large collection makes me fall in love with my husband a little more everyday! Over the years, he has gifted me my enviable Perfume-collection! Each bottle tells a story, associating itself with a country or trip...

Boiled Milk

Milk- Odia* sweet-dishes like- Rabidi*, Rasmalai*, Rasabali* etc. come to my mind when I smell boiled milk!
On a few occasions, I have even left the milk boiling and forgotten all about it!
Litres of burnt milk and other burnt foods can make our home Smelly indeed! 
Lesson- ‘Don’t cry over burnt milk/Food!’.

Rather, Smile by adopting the simple ‘Smelly to Smiley!’ Mantra!

I love all the smells in all my homes! They make me feel at home! 
I am tempted to change the words of a Shloka from the Rig Veda-
Let Noble Thoughts Come To Us From all Sides’ to- ‘Let Good Smells Come To Us From All Sides!’ 

Now that’s what should make us ‘Smellionaires’ (i.e. ‘Smell’-Mill‘ionaires’!) 
With good smells one feels mentally rich as though one has millions!

I feel like a Smellionaire already with so many good smells for company!
Eureka! The Déjà vu, the Tryst with my Soul-food makes me HAPPY!

P.S- All the photographs are self-clicked, except the Ambi Pur & Lord Jagannath Temple's pictures that I have taken from Google Images.

Note- I also shared some more of my Nostalgic Memories here- OLFACTORY ABRACADABRA

* - Some Terms-
Odia – Belonging to the State of Odisha
Rabidi- Thickened Milk
Rasmalai- Chhenna (a form of cottage cheese) in thickened, sweetened milk
Rasabali- Flattened disks of ricotta cheese soaked in sweetened condensed milk

Please do post your comments below & I 'll have a SMILEY face!


  1. Lovely thread of smells !Yet to see such a compilation so this has to rate an original !


    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your views!
      Smells have a great effect! Am just discovering that many share different nostalgic stories of the same Smell memories!

  2. burnt milk ,
    i have that one too once in a while,
    love it how you have stories that are honest ,

    all the best ,
    That’s me

    1. Hey Disha,
      Appreciate your feedback!
      It takes honesty to recognize honesty! :)
      Thanks for your wish! All the best to you too for the contest! :)

  3. well written!! perfectly justified the tittle "Smell to smiley" :) simple and effective.

    1. Thanks Sashi for your feedback! Glad you liked!
      A simple smell can mean such a lot!

  4. Very fresh perfumed post! U mst win! :D I loved hw U've composed all smells 2geder right frm childhood till now. Nostalgia smells gooooooood!

    1. Thanks Amrita! Glad you loved my Post!
      I worked hard to do justice to the topic- listing out all the notable smells I could recollect till date! :)
      Hope the judges share your view!!! :)


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