“Each day has a color, a smell.”
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Our noses have a way of sniffing out nostalgia and smells have the power to unlock forgotten memories. I am sure each one of us associates peculiar fragrances with people and things. The remarkable ability of our olfactory system helps to bring vivid memories back to life. It helps us to paint a picture of the past. I thought it was just the still pictures that kept the memories intact, but after having written this post I realized that our sense of smells have done the job better. I have shared my nostalgic moments at different times of my age.    🙂

Being Ten…

Childhood seems to have been lost in the race of life. As I sit down to capture my thoughts on smells and smiles, the first thing that springs up is my Grandparents house where we would go in the summer holidays. The smiles would just not disappear in the anticipation to board the train and smell the distinctive flavors of eatables from ‘puri chowle, kachori, chai, bread omellete to samosa’ on the platform and at the in-between halts. The breath of exotic juicy air that smells of mangoes and lichis from the fruit laden trees of the surroundings has come running towards me at an express speed. When I pendown the below verse, it seems it happened just yesterday…..

The Musty smell of the Woods and pleasant smell of the soils, forests anywhere bring the memories of visits to my grandparents’ village, of my grandfather, our ancestral home and of playing with the toys from the wood cupboard especially made for me.    🙂 🙂

The Sandalwood smell released from the incense sticks and ‘Vicco Turmeric’ cream reminds me of my grandma who never forgot to say her prayers and pamper herself after the bath. Perfectly religious and beauty conscious lady that I have known.

The Intoxicating, fruity, buttery smell of freshly baked muffins, pancakes and biscuits that I loved reminds me of my favorite Chaachu who ran a small bakery of its kinds. He smelt of cream, butter and almonds almost always and used all traditional ways of making the small treats. He said that he baked only for few and that I knew.

The tempting smell of the chicken curry and the fish fried in the mustard oil brings fond memories of my charming Chaachi who cooked delicacies to ensure that I ate double my appetite. The aroma of the lavish food would pull me from the garden to the kitchen.

The love and adulation of the childhood days has just stayed with me. There are no pictures of the soulful moments. The house does not exist, it was washed in the floods. My grandfather was lost in the fury of nature and my granny lost the reason to smile and deck herself. Chaacha and Chaachi became busy with their own kids. But I am happy that the scents and sensibilities would stay forever.

On the way to fifteen…

The soft and comforting fragrance of the traditional Pears Soap, reminds me of my Mother and her gorgeous fresh face with the beads of droplets (after the bath) settled here and there. First thing in the morning, I would run to cling and smell her. She uses it still and it makes me do the same every time I am with her.

The distinctive smell of medicinal liquid Dettol carries memories of my secrets shared with dad. Being a restless and naughty child, I would return home from school or park with cuts and bruises on a daily basis, hide them from mum fearing her scoldings. I would patiently wait for Dad to come in the evening. He would never forgot to clean and bandage my cuts with Dettol, while Mum would come running from the kitchen sniffing the smell.  It reminds me more of the carefree days and the lovely times of life.   😉

The aroma released from Maggi taste-maker floating from the neighbors house would get me hungry for the noodles but Mum had a rule of ‘only once in a fortnight’. Even today when anything smells nearest to maggi masala, faces of my next door neighbor’s naughty kids just flash back. The brats would never eat Dal and vegetables and would only gorge on Maggi and I would crib for getting it only twice in a month.   🙁     🙂

When I stepped on twenty….

Aromatic Perfumes, flowery deos and fruity lipglosses,  visit a girls hostel and you gonna find your favorite smell. I could identify my besties with the smells they wore with them all four years and even today anything closely related to strawberry is about Noops and lavender is Ana.   🙂  🙂

The aroma of garlic, black pepper, onion and coriander leaves define my love and appreciation for good food. I fell in love with this divine combination sometime in teens and I have grown on it now. Even today when I think of best food, it has to have the perfect lingering after-smell and taste of the above ingredients.

For me roses bring the memory of my first birthday with my hubby. A rose smells sweet but when you have a bouquet of 200 roses at your disposal, the whole house fills with sweetness. Just a whiff of the beautiful flower and I am transported in my early dating days. Anything that carries the smell of a rose reminds me of love and romance.    😉

A year after twenty five….

After few weeks of our marriage, my hubby had to attend to a foreign assignment and I had to put up alone for three months. Those were really tough days and the new, unsettled atmosphere made things harder for me. I would cry in my room because I missed him and my Parents. I would actually sniff through my Mums shawl that I had brought along. 

The warmth and smell of her would make her presence felt around me. And in other times I would wear my hubbies Tees to miss him less.  Smells of love did the magic for me and kept me going.  😉  🙂

In the foreign land (Europe)… I stepped into an elevator of the apartment where I was putting up with my hubby. It was crowded and a bunch of people piled around me. I was behind a woman with her back to me, her hair was in my nose, and I could smell the fragrance, the coconut smell, it was Parachute, and I realized I hadn’t smelled it in [years]. It seemed like I was transported back to high school, my pony tail days, days of ragging in college, my Mums instructions of oiling the hair regularly and mostly the Indian feeling came calling…

Most recent one…actually smelly to smiley

It had been raining all night and it seemed Lucy was not well. She is the cat that visits our house often. Though she never bothers us and is a good cat. She is cute and has earned a name for herself too. But that night she left work for us for our next day holiday. We got up to a stinking smell coming from our side corridor. The cat had left little landmines around the house—a.k.a. she had pooped and left large puddles of pee….. So we had a hard day task of cleaning and washing before us. The air of newzealand spring sprung up for our help. I used AMBIPUR, which I had got at the Indi bloggers Meet, sprayed it in the house and the smelly air turned into smiley one in just few seconds…   🙂  So A nostalgic moment added with Ambipur too. It saved my day actually…


Lets smell happiness!

What’s in a name, that we call a rose a rose?
By any other name it would smell as sweet.


Taste is mostly (~75%) smell

There really is an old person smell, a young person smell and a middle-aged smell, so next time don’t try to hide your age.. 😉

This post has been written for Ambi Pur’s ‘Smelly Air to Smiley Air’ Contest in association with Indiblogger.

Written by

Manjulika Pramod

An engineer who loves to be called a blogger more!
Traveler, short-story writer, voracious reader, foodie is the better me!
Reading, eating, traveling, exploring, observing and blogging are the beautiful highs of my life.