Smelling Memories

It is curious how the mind looks back into the past: it’s not always the visions that bring on such memories, but more often than not, all it takes is an old song playing ,or the smell of the wet earth after rain to open the floodgates(I’ll risk sounding cliché this once). And what an unexpected delight these memories can be! Granted, there will always the odd few that will bum you out but hey…even Dumbledore gets a bogey flavor bean once in a while 😉

I’d started out writing this piece as a lengthy chronological affair, but apparently my memory does not agree with such ‘mundane’ reasoning. So, the readers will have to tolerate the peculiar brand of reasoning that my brain likes to make when it comes to memories (and pardon me for the seemingly illogical jumps I make). Take the smell of musty old books, for example. No…wait…smell of books remind me of books. Period.


Well, jokes apart, ‘smelling memories’ has always been very strong for me. Take rubber flooring for instance: quite often, when I’m stepping in for an interview, the smell of rubber flooring always takes me back to the toy shop in my childhood where dad used to buy me toys when I’d been especially good!(Which is why I guess I always enter those interviews with a silly grin on my face)

A month or so ago, I was visiting Bhandaria( a village and home to some of my maternal cousins) to attend the famous ‘Shoshan Kali Pujo’. Now, the Goddess ‘Kali’ has quite a reputation as a bloodthirsty goddess, even more so as the ‘Shoshan Kali’. So when going there, I was expecting to be hit by smell of blood, sacrifices and everything that goes with such an atmosphere. To my utter surprise, as I reached my destination, it was the dry haystacks that I smelt, and was transported to a different world entirely. The entire day: the fair, the jostling people, the sacrifices, the puja came and went as if a distant dream. For I was back in my childhood, my ‘mamabari’ where my grandparents kept cows and it was the memory of the smell of cow fodder that had brought me back to the place where so many fond memories reside. Being lulled to sleep by old gramps, listening to his ridiculous tales featuring himself (I am sporting a HUGE, silly ass grin right now: gramps was never a very humble guy, now that I think of it) and being soothed if I got scared by one of the particularly scary ones (“No ghost dare come near while ‘Ram Kumar’ is here”, he’d say). Grandmother: always so caring, and eternally puttering about the kitchen; cooking up the next delicacy for her grandchildren. Playing, fighting with my cousins. Stealing into the video hall my uncle used to own to watch the fight scenes whenever we heard ‘dhishum dhashum’ from inside… Yes, that was another world entirely.

For the last few months, I have been commuting by train a lot. Every day, the train passes by what used to be my Junior School. In this case, it is the memory that brings the smell, not the other way around. The smell that I relate to school is, curiously enough: putty. The putty that is used to secure glass panels to windows( I guess that calls for an explanation.) Right after I joined, our school transferred to a new building at the edge of town. Everything was fresh, including the window putty. To the utter horror of our teachers, we found out that prying out the putty from the panels and making clay/putty models was a very attractive past-time(especially during boring classes). We would thoroughly clean every window of the last grains of the stuff only to return after the weekend to find: more putty! Sometimes I can’t help wondering just how frustrating it must have been for the authorities to replenish our putty supply every week. Brings a chuckle every time.


Just yesterday, while  watching a recent episode of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ I was heralded by the tune ‘Pop goes the weasel’ and right on cue, came rushing all the sweet memories of sweet sweet Cartoon Network. Well, there is no denying it: The CN generation had a blast! And we still remember all the shows,all the songs. Be it : ‘The Powerpuff Girls’(I remember dad asking me whatever on earth I found interesting in those bee-like things flying around), Huckleberry Hound singing ‘Oh my Darlin Clamentine’ and especially the tunes from Looney Tunes will probably be with me forever. It’s a shame what Cartoon Network has become these days…well THAT is something I definitely DO NOT want to talk about.

And this is about where my creative juices run out and the brain refuses to throw up any further goodies. Not an amazing 1st post as one might hope for but it will have to do. Until I get my refill of that creative juice… HAKUNA MATATA!


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