I think, therefore I write

Of fragrances and memories

~ The aroma of mom’s drumstick sambhar filling the house when you are ravenous from a long day at school. Knowing that her crispy dosas and sambhar await me for dinner is one inexplicable memory after school.

~ The smell of the house I grew up in. It was a monumental one, to be honest – built about 5 generations back by my dad’s grandfather. Stoic and old, it had this distinct smell that was a combination of the cement floors, whitewashed walls, high rise ceilings and dingy kitchens. There used to be at least 2 doors to reach a single room and weaving in and out of the house was second nature to us. My friends used to have a hard time to wrap their minds around the structure whenever they visited and I used to accompany them everywhere so that they don’t get lost. Well, that particular smell has my childhood written all over it.

~ The medicinal smell of insulin reminds me of the hospitals and sometimes it is overwhelming that I have gotten used to it so much, being around Adit. I often have mixed feelings about having to deal with a lot of hospital visits but at the same time feel grateful about being able to afford it. There are many people out there who have bigger issues and are not able to afford healthcare. And there’s no use crying over the cards you are dealt with. That’s what you got and it is better to chin up and go about doing your best.

~ The way babies smell – I used to adore this on my nephew even after he grew out of the baby phase. The innocence, the curiosity in his eyes and his voice rings clearly any time I remember that baby smell. Now it is all coming back even more clearly with Aditi. It’s amazing how she has got me wrapped with her tiny little fingers. I never believed it when new mothers spoke about not knowing it until you experience it, but now I see their point.

~ The smell of new books. Ah! This is an irreplaceable one. Ever since I started reading, the first thing I do after buying a book is to inhale the fragrance of the pages deeply. It would feel like I am part of the story already. That’s the one regret I have with switching to kindle.

~ The aroma of aunt’s bisibelebath on your hands after you have eaten and washed up. Her bisibelebath is something I would die for, it is that delicious. Yes, it is a given that a lot of oil, ghee and spices go into that taste but when she prepares it, but all my health resolutions go out the window and I wouldn’t care less if I feel like a giant anaconda after the heavy meal. I just can’t resist it. I got her special recipe and tried it a couple of times. My attempts turned out to be pretty tasty but when she does it and serves it scalding hot on a plate with her special raitha, it’s just food nirvana. And her pampering insisting that I have multiple servings is just as irresistible as her dish.

~ Of course, the way Adit smells. Fresh after a shower, a combination of his soap and himself. I could just snuggle him all day doing nothing.

~ The crisp smell of fresh bed sheets reminds me of times when I visit home after a long time. My room would be unused most times and hence mom would have cleaned it and made the bed with fresh sheets in anticipation of my arrival. The fresh bed sheet smell reminds me of my mother’s anticipation of my arrival.

~ The fragrance of winter setting in. This usually evokes a pleasant feeling since I enjoy winter of all the seasons. But ever since our trip to Boston in December 2016, it has associated itself with the feeling of vacation too. That was a much needed break for both of us and I had almost decided not to go on that vacation. Thanks to Adit, who dragged me along insisting that I needed it. We had such a great time and even if we make a million more trips, I would never forget that one.

~ The smell of baby wipes and diapers. A weird one but one that has weaved its way into my life. Can’t say I love it but all my dreams of pushing the poopy diaper department to Adit were in vain. 😐

~ The fragrance of lizol after my maid finishes cleaning the house. I am sucker for a clean house and I would launch an anti-dust campaign if I could. But sadly, it is impossible for me to keep a house that is sparkling clean with all the workload I have and the environmental conditions in the place I live. So the lizol fragrance is something that lifts my spirits. Oh, what would I do without my maid?

and many more such memories in the past and in making make life worth living for…..

Until later 🙂


  1. Seema

    Some fragrances are so deeply associated with memories – absolutely nostalgic. The intense lemon fragrance of the concentrate used to make Rasna – just the memory takes me back to my childhood. It has been years since I prepared this drink … but how vivid the fragrance is in my mind!
    Nowadays, I relish the fragrance of mangoes and rain 🙂

    Seema – Artist & Writer
    Lonely Canopy

    • Keirthana

      Very true Seema! It’s wonderful how the mind forms associations between fragrances and memories.

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