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Can you archive an aroma in the way you can store images as jpeg and bitmap? Yep, Mother Nature has created its own smell archives.

Folder: The amygdala and entorhinal cortex of Limbic system.

Password: A whiff…

Function key: Memory and Emotions. No wonder, an aroma has such strong connections with our emotions and vivid memories. Far, far stronger than vision or touch.

If I listed my favorite aromas: (in no particular order)

1. Everybody’s perennial list-topper. The crisp smell of dust ploughed out of its slumber by the first rain showers: first rain The second shower never smells quite the same.

In childhood, this aroma signified the gloomy end of summer vacation; the smell of anticipation, of brand new uniforms, virgin textbooks. The smell of plastic raincoats and musty clothes. Nowadays, Rain= Leptospirosis.

Best rain songs: 1}Jagjit Singh’s sonorous melancholy ‘Wo kaagaz ki kashti, wo baarish ka paani.’ 2} Kishor’s ‘Rimzim gire saawan’.

2. Roasted Bhutta : A by-default rain-associated smell. Snug on the  red embers, crackling and popping in the warmth of a coal-fire, garnished with lime, sprinkled with red chilli and salt. Heaven in 25 Rupees!  Just admit it, you are salivating for one right now…bhutta

I yearn for the white, firm, fleshy corn of my childhood and youth. ‘Nobody buys them anymore, Madam’ , says the vendor. They seem to be as extinct as white tigers. ‘Koi lauta de mere beete hue din…”

I hate the sickly-sweet, jaundiced American corn. The type that reminds you exactly how many un-(ful)filled cavities exist in every tooth.

3. Can sweat, milk, dribble and talcum powder smell good? Only if packaged within plump fists, wide eyes and adorable vulnerability. Baby smell: the most natural oxytoxin. baby-scent-sudocrem

4. Tall, Dark, Hot and Strong . That’s how I love my…umm…coffee.

Mysore Cafe at Sion circle, Mumbai  wafts this perfume 24×7. How many agree that coffee smells much better than it tastes?

5. Grandma smell: It lay in her every wrinkle and crinkle, in her saree folds, in her roasted misheri , in the purse-string potli  pursestring that could conjure up anything from shrikhand sweets to coins. The smell of magic and wisdom.

Lucky me! My generation didn’t need ipods and ipads to survive childhood. I vividly recollect cloistering around her for re-re-retellings of tales from Ramayana and Mahabharata and getting a sharp knuckle-rap on the head for our squabbles.

6. Try peeling and eating an Orange secretly in a public place. Just you try! There can be debates on the best tasting fruit;  but an orange wins peels-down in the best-smelling category.  oranges

The glowing skin, the tangy spray, the fleshy pods. The pips, the netted fibers, the sticky juice running between fingers- it all comes as a package.

{P.S:  A school friend  used to have orange neatly peeled and sliced into sterile bite-sized morsels in her Tiffin; which she then ate with a tiny fork! Seriously! I wonder if her adult self eats popcorn with chopsticks!}

7. Bakery smell: Freshly baked, just outta the oven;rumored to be the best smell on Earth and Heaven . sweet-bakery-products-basket-29206226

Recently, I literally smelt out a Banglore Iyengar bakery in Mumbai. Yup, a bonafide Iyengar bakery right in the middle of the fanatically Marathi Dadar area.

8. From sinful food to the saintly Sandalwood. If ever a scent belongs in a temple, Sandalwood does. Cool, soothing, pristine.

What about you?

a.What is your favorite aroma-memory? (Bad smells excluded)

b. How would you rate Mysore filter coffee versus Starbucks?  

c. I want Indian corn, please…Out with the foreign invasion.

d. Shouldn’t first-rain scent be packaged for sale?

e. P.S: I heard Disney has already patented Baby-smell called Sudocrem. Tch, they always steal my bright ideas…