By Life Positive July 2011 The smell of wet earth after a good shower of rain, the aroma of tangy sambar wafting from the kitchen, the sweet fragrance of a blooming jasmine on a moonlit night… each of these evokes a sense of comfort and nostalgia. Ever wondered what the world would be like if we couldn’t smell anything? Nothing like suffering from a bad cold to make one realise how much we would miss having a clear sense of smell!!Some of my most pleasant memories have been of lazy days spent playing with my cousins in the verdant, lush environs of Kerala when summer holidays seemed to stretch unending into the horizons. The two-day long train journey from the hectic city life of Mumbai to the idyllic villages of my native place would be filled with wonderful aromas every step of the way. From the packed bags of food to the fresh magazines hoarded for the journey, I would go around taking in what each fragrance meant for me – a long and wonderful vacation!!The train journey wouldn’t be complete without my father having consumed a million cups of sweet tea from the chai-wallahs vending their wares every half-an-hour or so. The aroma of tea still takes me back to those crowded compartments, and I can almost see dad cradling that little plastic cup in his hands and enjoying every sip. As the train crossed the borders of the states, I could sense the change, as everything smelled different.The arid plains of Andhra Pradesh in the sweltering heat seemed so forbidding while the plains of Tamil Nadu smelled of camphor and temples. But what my mind would be eagerly awaiting would be the fragrance of greenery and freshness that always heralded the crossing of the border into my home state. I would sit glued to the windows, taking in everything, wanting to capture it all without letting anything escape my nose or my eyes.It’s not just the smells of nature but those of other things at home that take me back to those wonderful times. The scent of Cuticura talc reminds me of my uncle getting ready for office. Mysore Sandal soap, my aunt’s favourite, reminds me of the fun games my cousins and I would play at her house.The evenings always brought the fragrance of camphor and incense and flowers from the temples. Strings of jasmine flowers take me back to the fun-filled weddings of my youth. Today, when life isn’t as simple as it seems to a little school kid, all it takes is a good whiff of something delicious to take away the harshness that sometimes seems to envelope us. When I see a friend in need of some TLC in this stressful age, I want to go over with a cup of steaming hot chocolate or a budding rose and ask her to take a deep breath and unlock all the warm and cosy memories hidden in some dusty corner of her mind.So go ahead, lock away your computer for a while, go out on your terrace and take a deep breath – who knows, maybe the memories of a lazy summer long gone will suddenly capture your mind, and delight your heart.Divya Nandan Nair, Bangalore
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