Monday, February 7, 2011

Our nose- the perfect scent catcher

I recall the school days when I am on my way back home very hungry, could track all the delicacies being prepared for the so-called evening tiffin or dinner in our locality.  As soon as I would step inside my house, I would be able to confirm the cooking in the kitchen.  Of course, many of you would accept this verdict of mine and would have had the same experience too. 

Our nose is one of the most powerful organ of our body.  It is amazing to think how the nose can perceive the taste of a particular food item just by sensing the aroma.  As we pass by a bakery, the light molecules of the bakes mingles in the air and makes us drool even without visually seeing the product.  Such is the effect of smell. 

My neighbour  loves the divine smell emanicipating from my house during festival days. It would be a combination of agarbathi, camphor, elaichi and other delicacies especially prepared during those days.  The scents absorbed are so powerful that many can spell out the ingredients that went into the preparation of a particular dish in the neighbourhood.  I have seen many chefs, at first, giving a thorough inhale of the dish before tasting it which gives them the assurance that the dish is well cooked with great ingredients. 

At the same time, the nose is sensitive to stench too.  My grandfather can smell stench from a distance and would often complain of  burnt milk, dal in the kitchen or the blackened sabji.  Nothing can escape his nose.  Have you ever wondered how this happens?  At the top of our nasal passage, there are special neurons which are out in the open and they have small hair-like projections called cilia.When molecules from the odour binds with the cilia, we are able to perceive the smell.

I truly enjoy the divine, serine and unique smells, to name a few:

Damp soil of the first rain
Of the new-born
Freshly adorned henna
Just blooming jasmine

Sandal based agarbathi when lit
Freshly cooked food
Festive season
Fresh bakes from the oven

My favourite perfume
Freshly brewed coffee
Basmati rice while on the pot cooking
Mint and cilantro

Can go on and on but to agree in totality on one aspect - The natural smell of things created by Him has a divinity and that which cannot be recreated in its originality,  than the ones created by humans.

'If we breathe the scent of goodly grass, the fragrance of spices, the aroma of good fruits, we pronounce a blessing over the pleasure' - Shmuel Y Agnon


  1. I too love all those u have mentioned except the basmati rice (This is one aroma i hate) and I hate strong perfumes.

    I also like the smell of freshly painted house.

  2. Enjoyed reading your post.Nicely written.

  3. Wow same pinch, i love all those smells u have mentioned..

  4. We take our sense of smell so much for granted. Imagine if you didn't have it, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the beauty of nature, the lovely food smells, the smell of the first rain and best of the smell of a baby just after you have given them a bath and applied creams and baby powder etc...

  5. Totally agree.. even i love the aroma of Basmati rice while cooking

  6. Nice post... i love the smell of damp earth too :)
    Hey i shared an award with u.. please follow this link :)

  7. So true...some smells can elicit wonderful memories. I love the smell of freshly baking bread. My daughter and husband have a very strong sense of smell and many scents annoy

  8. wow love all smells u mentioned above but truely special is smell of wet soil when it rains .....lovely write up:)

  9. Great post.Well written. Many of our nostalgic memories are possible because of our sense of smell..As I'm reading this post I'm going into memory lane..


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