14 September, 2011

The Saga Of Smells

My roommate calls me a dog.
Sometimes because she doesn't like me, sometimes because we have more dogs than human beings at home.

But mostly because I have a super-sensitive nose.
Meaning the sense of smell is hyper-important in my life.
So much so that I associate smells with memories, I find comfort in familiar smells, I smell every most things before I buy/eat/drink/use them.

For eg: While I'm walking to class, I can name almost every single perfume or deodorant that every passing person is wearing (or God forbid, not! Egh *making face*)
So you get the point.

Anyway, sitting in the night canteen, sipping coffee after a particularly horrible Monday, watching the clouds play oliche-kande (hide-and-seek) with the mountains, I made a list of smells I love, mentally, in order to restore a semblance of order in my mind (yes, that is one way, the other is talking to myself inside my head, wondering what you are doing reading a loon's blog yet?:P). Here I am putting it down for you guys to read, so you can confirm or deny my close resemblance to the canine family/identify with.

1) The smell of our night canteen (inter-mingled aromas of machine coffee, puffs, fresh Lays packets, cream buns and stuff)
2) The smell of new note paper (one reason I miss school because I buy all of one notebook a year in college).
3) The smell of freshly bathed dogs (the clinical soap smell with that not-THAT-dirty-anymore doggie whiff)

4) The smell of his tee (one that lulls me to sleep some nights)
5) Smells of people I love; each different and unique and a mix of their soaps, deos, creams and their natural fragrance all put together to help me lend comfort in my existence (Amma's, Indu's)
6) The smell of a plain bar of chocolate (it just sits there, smelling of something oh-so-wonderful and begging me to pick it up; I have gone bankrupt certain months spending so much on chocolate alone)

7) The smell of paint/freshly painted surfaces (you may think this is weird, trust me it gets worse)
8) The smells of petrol, naphthalene balls and Fevicol (specifically these; I get them in bottles/packets and keep smelling them till somebody knocks me on the head, gives me a lecture on narcotic substances & health and parts us)
9) The smell of the library (du-uh! tons and tons of old, weary books, what more can anyone possibly want?)

10) The smell of cold air (do NOT ask, there IS a scent)
11) The smell of tiny kitties (when they curl up against you and purr like they have an auto rickshaw inside their stomachs)
12) The smell of Johnson's baby powder and everybody who smell like it.
13) The smell of pavizhamalli in the night. I don't know what it's called in any other language.

14) The smell of fluffy rabbits and somber cows (closest I can get to Mother Earth, according to me)
15) The smell of old clothes from the attic.

These, apart from the usual smell of rain, freshly mowed grass, pillows, own room, food in a restaurant when I'm desperately hungry and... you see where I'm going?

But then, you can imagine how this particular habit (for lack of better word) of mine can quite easily turn into the worst thing that ever happened to me - think in terms of rotten fish, crowded buses at peak times, guys coming back from a very 'energetic' game, people who are allergic to water/regular baths, accumulated garbage in the street corner, four-day old milk left in the coffee mug over the weekend by a roomie who strongly believes in the art or procrastination and so on.

Am I a dog?

P.S: Reshmi Varma (of the bride fame) wanted me to tell the world (or my 150-odd followers) to know that she's growing up and cleaning her room ALL by herself:) Just saying.
P.P.S: I have a new header, should I wait till my blogoversary to put it up or change it in a coupla days.


  1. pavizha malliy is a pure malayalee flower,t doesnt have any other name..!

  2. i love d smell of petrol too.
    apart frm dat id say d smell of dust *!!* wen u switch on d ac, leather, lemons, frst roti on d tawaa...uhh ya dats all i can think of rite now.

    nice post :)

  3. Smell of cold air definitely proves you to be a super efficient dog. You should try out the FBI :P!! Now I understand why you felt the morning to be very peaceful :D

  4. I adore the smell of petrol and paints/varnish/permanent marks etc so you aren't strange at all!

  5. I do think you were a dog in one of your past births and a remarkable one at that :D

    The Petrol smell does rank quite high on my list as well but I have this weird form of Anthophobia so cant venture near flowers.

    BTW have I mentioned that a new Lindt factory has opened in town. So will be smelling factory fresh Premium Lindt chocolates next month onwards.

  6. Nothing can beat the smell of chocolate!!And PETROL!!I literally put my head out of the car window like a dog and smell the air as the petrol is being filled into the car tank :P

  7. LOL There are some wonderful smells out there ^^

  8. oh priyanka, FINALLy! finally i get to know a person who has that strong a smelling sense as i do. my mother in law hates that about me. i can smell EVERYTHING. and i know how different people smell differently.

    i throw up a lot because of this thing, i smell something that's eww and ughh.. my neighbor thinks im pregnant:D

  9. dude i try to comment on your blog, i submit it and it disappears:S

  10. Wow that's interesting :P My nose isn't that sensitive. You have super powers :P

  11. :D

    Same pinch ! I guess I'm a dog too. :P Proves my crazy attachment towards dogs. :D And I can sooo associate smells with memories. :D

    And at last I found someone other than me who can smell cold air. Dunno if you have been to north India during those chilly and foggy mornings. The smell is so distinctive.

    And I'd add the smell of varnish to those of petrol, naphthalene balls and fevicol. No wonder we have aromatic chemistry as a separate topic. :-)

    Apart from these, the very common smells which catch my attention are,

    1. The smell of brand-new cricket balls. (dunno whether you have experienced it)
    2. The peculiar smell in coaches of Indian Railways. (you must have experienced it)
    3. The smell in hospital corridors. (though I'm used to it, but still hate it :-/ )
    4. The smell of leaking cooking gas.
    5. The smell of chlorinated water.
    6. The peculiar smell of the baggage of our visiting NRI relatives.
    7. The smell of the greenery of any institute's campus after dark.
    8. The smell of fresh fruits.
    9. The smell of a burning kerosene lamp. (if you have ever experienced it)
    10. The smell of burning electric cables or burning plastic.

  12. Interesting post on smell. You are a great sniffer:)

  13. Smell of cold air and petrol...i love it too :-) dogs and rabbits not too sure..

    ps: apologies if i hurt you yesterday....xx

  14. I can conjure up smells out of thin air, especially of people, just by thinking about them. Sounds very filmy, I know, but sometimes, that can be very comforting. I'll be thinking about them, and suddenly, the scent would just come to me, just for a second.

    A keen sense of smell is good. It saved me from being the victim of a gas-leak blast quite many times. :/

    In my apartment building back home, I used to be able to tell what is cooking in which house just by standing outside my house. Oh the smell of coconut frying and chicken biryani... Ah...

    I love the smell of rain. There's something very...vibrant about it. And the smell of books, old and new. Freshly washed bedsheets and pillow-covers. The fragrance of mehendi. And a lot of the other things you have mentioned like Johnson and Johnson, petrol, glue, coffee..

    But this super-keen sense of smell can be a bad thing too at times. I'm extrememly allergic to the smell of agarbatthi, saambrani (I don't know the spelling) and mosquito coil. Also, strong perfumes. I have actually pushed people away because their strong perfume would suffocate me. I'm an ex-asthma patient, so I get hyper if I get so much as a whiff of a strong smell that suffocates me.

    Ooh! Are you an ink-sniffer by any chance? I used to open an ink bottle and sniff it. And I continue to sniff at markers and pens. Also, the smell of pencil lead on the paper.

    If you are a dog, I don't know what to call myself now. :/

  15. And I LOVE the smell of cold air!!! Because it means my favourite season is on. :) It's a delicious smell.

  16. I am such a 'smeller' :P The minute i buy anything I need to smell it. :P

    My favourite smell is that of really OLD books. :)

  17. Well written! I too associate smells with memories. I used to wear a perfume when a certain someone was a part of my life. And then that ended badly. Since then I never have been able to use the perfume. The scent always brings back bad memories.

  18. The smell of the earth after the rains :)
    I even love the smell of nicotine :P
    Chocolate is obvious for me cause I'm a total chocolate addict :D
    And I'm a dog lover too :) Plus, yes..the scent of that someone who lulls me off to sleep :D And of old books too!

    Loved the post !!! :)

  19. I am extremely sensitive to smell too!
    I also love the smell of fresh paint... ahh.. heavenly.. that's one reason why i love oil panting..
    And the smell of books, both old and new.. and coffee and rain and petrol!!! I have a long list.. hehe..

  20. The best smell in the world is that of the man you love. Period :)

  21. The smell of his tee should be indeed the best one of all, no? I still have to come across a man wearing that tee having the most intoxicating odor.

    I don't know if your room mate is right or wrong, but sometimes you do feel like a dog when you aren't treated like a human. Happened with me a lot many times.

    I am in love with odor of naphthalene balls and petrol. I love the smell of fresh grass ornated with dew. And i LOVE the odor of BRUT.

  22. im the same (or i like to think i got super sensitive nose ;P) I can smell food for so far away ;P i love how the smell of things can bring up so many memories.

  23. Cold air has a smell? Really? :O
    And so many other ones too. Either i need to get my nose checked or yours is JUST too freaking sharp.
    and your blog is saweeet, i am following ! :)

  24. @ nikhimenon, ow, no botanical name either?

    @ Sadiya Merchant, dust? Really? o_O
    first roti on the tawa...ah!:)

    @ Deepthi, :D read other comments, other people can smell air too:P I find mornings peaceful? o_O

    @ Hazel, :D nice to know actually..

    @Atrocious Scribblings, *takes a bow* thangu, thangu:D
    anthoPHOBIA? Do elaborate.
    BTW, I don't like you anymore :'(
    *dreaming of Lindt*

    @ Red Handed, lol, there's an image to think about:D

    @ Mark, there sure are!:)

    @ the butterfly effect, :D hi5 on that and lots of people (MIL included) just don't seem to GET it:) Never mind, world of our own...

    LOL:D Nosy neighbour will wonder in a few months then, I suppose:D

    I have moderation enabled Madame, they'll appear only after I approve, getting your comments loud and clear, thank you so much:)

    @ Tay Tay, I do, don't I! :D Yayme:P

    @ Shobhit,I know, right?! But very few people get that even cold air has a smell:)

    You do? o_O I should've specialized in that then:P

    Cricket balls, yes. But I don't like it much though, sorry:|
    Coaches. Yes. YEW.
    Actually, I love the clinical smell of hospitals, I forgot to add it in the list:|
    NRI relatives - they usually bring that NRI smell with them na:)
    Wow, that's quite an exhaustive list:))

    @ Jidhu Jose, :) only new?

    @ sajeevkmenon, thanks, if at all being a sniffer is a compliment:)

    @ Chintan, try rabbits, the tiny ones. Just once. Maybe you''fall in love with it:)

    Not to worry.. to each his own, Madame:)

    @ Spiff, the uses of being a sniffer, I suppose:)

    Smells of food, don't get me started on that one:) I specifically kept away from that area or the post would have been a mile long:D

    Asthma, yes. Bad, bad thing for asthma people. Mum has a horrible time with shambrani.

    :D I do the occasional ink smelling but my chances grow lesser since we use ball points in college:|

    YES! That's why I love cold air too!!:D

    @ Srinidhi, it's almost like an obsession:D

    @ sumitra, thank you:) Awww... I get it. Maybe a day will come when you'll have put it away and it just seems like a distant memory.

    @ Philo, nicotine? Really? Coz it never fails to choke me up.
    Thank you:)

    @ Chandana, oil paints! They are oh-so-awesome:)

    @ Soumya, :P woh toh hoga hi!

    @ KN, yep. Most certainly is:P
    He'll come by soon enough...:)

    Unless the person on the other end is worth it and means something to you, ignore. I have found it to be the best way in such scenarios.

    Brut. Bliss.

  25. I meant the 'smell' when we were in the meeting!! Forget it :P

  26. The smell of canteen oooh brings memoriessss of college life , hostel life ..

    the smell of EARTH when the first few drops of rain fall on parched land..


  27. OMG..you are so cool well i dont pay attention to smells :P:P

    thanks for dropping some lovely words on my blog..i appreciate it <3

  28. quite a smelly blog! :P kidding..
    Ever thought of being a tea taster?? I think they need to have a keen smeller along with taste!!

  29. i love the smell of new books...foodzz, yea i love all that smell too...and definitely fresh are...i feel like eating snacks while reading my fav book in the balcony...:)

    it doesn't make me dog....i ain't that faithful:)

    cool post...

  30. @ normal.is.overrated., :D doesn't that just make everything so much better (or worse)?

    @ Cяystal, trust me, it does:D Nothing wrong with your nose Madame, mine is just ultra-sensitive:D
    Thank you:)

    @ Deepthi, errrrrggggggh. Do NOT remind me. Any given time I have to spend within a radius or 5 meters is olfactory suicide for me :|

    @ mannbikram, best times:)
    Do you get that in the UK? Is it the same?

    @ the other side of me, another normal person, you are:)
    My pleasure:)

    @ Shazia, :D
    There's a profession like that? Now that you've mentioned it, maybe I'll give it serious thought, I could even make my first million in it:D

    @ SUB,:) now, that's a thought...
    Chee, chee, you should be;D

  31. Considering the fact that you are a female, No, you are not a dog. You get the drift right? :P

    Most of these smells are pleasant to me too, except body smells, I could never decipher any.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  32. hehehe.. all the while I was reading it, I was wondering how come you are not mentioning the downside of this superpower..and then I read it in the last :D otherwise, its okay to be the dog/bitch.. :D *same pinch*

  33. @author i think you've missed something which everyone sniffs,the smell of a new currency note!
    and btw fragrance(lol) from old books reminds me of those people who have used the book! :_)

  34. @ BA, I was asking figuratively-_-

    @ Ananya, :D downside is MOST annoying, to say the least;P

    @ pistaboy, ooohlala, very good point:D yes, true. But it doesn't come under my favorite, comforting ones.
    And YEWWW:) You might have just RUINED old books for me enitirely :o:D

  35. Your peculiar trait reminds me of movie "Perfume-The story of a murderer". :P

    I like the smell of freshly painted house and of smell in the air just after it has rained :)

  36. 7,8,9,10. Petrol rules the roost :D

  37. Smell of cold air? Hmm...too bad winter just finished...have to wait another year to try that one out! Sounds like you have a close link to the canine family. I must say though, as much as I love the taste of chocolate, the smell doesn't do much for me. Coffee on the other hand is probably my favourite smell! Freshly mown grass is a no-no for me. As you said, there is a flip side to this gift of yours...keep smelling! :)

    P.S. Get the header up I reckon...another 90 odd days to your blogoversary....

  38. if that makes you a dog, then im one too! :D I have been known to detect that something's burning someplace 50 meters away a good 10 minutes before anyone else can!

    Johnson's baby powder! Oh I love that baby smell; and I think the flower you mention is called 'raat ki rani' in Hindi. :)

    And how could you forget smell of wet earth! Oh its orgasmic. Ummm and what else, the smell of lavender! Smell of a fresh book, smell of those wooden shelves in libraries and petite bookshops. Its an endless list really. :)

  39. ohhh...usually the blogger notifies about comment moderation, in ur blog it doesn't. my bad :D

  40. Wiki Muses -

    ANTHOPHOBIA = abnormal and persistent fear of flowers

    Though sufferers generally understand that they face no threat from flowers, they invariably experience anxiety at the sight or thought. Any genus or species of flowers can instill fear, as can any flower part, such as a petal or stem.

    Get what I`m saying ???

  41. Dear PeeVee :D I loved this post of yours' coz it talks about smells..and I love smelling few of the listed smells (new notebook, permanent marker, Frying onion and garlic :P ) Oh, and this one may tell you something about smells. I wrote on it once. :D


  42. @ Kunal, never seen it:) But now I want to.

    @ Sushmit, and not kittens? *innocent face* :P

    @ Psych Babbler™, try inhaling the aroma before you bite in, it does wonders for the taste, I swear. And I say this from a non-addicts point of view:)

    Header's on it's way:)

    @ Devika, cheers to being dogs together:)
    Ah, raat ki rani.. might be:)

    Put up a post sometime about it then:)

    @ the butterfly effect, it doesn't? I'll look into it.

    @ Atrocious Scribblings, no re. I GET the meaning of Anthophobia but I have never met a person with it before. Does it work like all other phobias? Is it that severe?

  43. aahh!! :D :D the blissful aroma of chocolate!!! :D.. i bought a very chocolatey lip balm becasue of it really auhmazing chocolatey aroma!!
    and We call that flower 'Parijatha'.. we have the parijatham tree in our house and sadly its grown very old and we hardly get much flowers.. I jus loovvvee the smell of those flowers especially in the early morning.. and i totally agree with you on the 'cold air smell'.. its just sooo fresh and minty! :D

  44. So imagine my condition, last year!!! :D :P..Glad it's over

  45. @ Viya, oh God, I want one too but I'll prolly end up eating all of it:P Bingo, parijatham it is.

    @ Deepthi, :P


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