Monday, August 26, 2013

Smelly Air to Smiley Air

What is the first thing that you think of when you read the title of this post?

For me, it immediately reminds me of Phoebe's epic song, Smelly Cat from my favourite TV show, F.R.I.E.N.D.S    
For those of you who have never heard of it, here it is for your hearing pleasure-

Smelly Cat

Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?
Smelly cat, smelly cat, it's not your fault.
They won't take you to the vet.
You're obviously not their favorite pet.
It may not be a bed of roses.
And you're no friend to those with noses.

Now coming to what this post is actually about - Smell and memories associated with them.

Smell I believe is the most powerful way to rouse your memory. Just a waft of fragrance reminds one of an obscure and random incident from the past which you could never have remembered consciously. It is like this floodgate of memories which breaks with flashes from your past running one after another in a slideshow mode, beautiful ( and sometimes not so beautiful) memories fleeting like a film right in front of you as you stand still, eyes closed, inhaling the scent through your nostrils, taking it inside of you, into your lungs.

I, particularly have a very strong sense of smell. The smell of certain things evoke a very strong reaction. It gets so enveloping that sometimes I can feel the scent running through me, down my spine, giving me goose-flesh. There are so many memories that I can associate with an array of smells.

It was only last evening that I was coming back home when the bus stopped at a traffic signal close to the footpath which had a row of florists one after another selling all kinds of beautiful flowers and amongst all the mishmash of perfumes from those flowers, my nose caught one in particular- the smell of a rose. I despise anything artifically rose scented but I absolutely love the smell of a fresh rose bud. I have had this love for a very long time, as long as I can remember. My mom tells me how I used to be completely wonder struck at the sight and smell of roses, red ones in particular whenever I saw them. There used to be this particular florist's that was close to a shopping area where we used to live in Vizag. I (as mum tells) used to instantly get glued to the nearest light post to the shop, holding to it and stood there standing and smelling the rose for as long as I could before my parents would come and pull me from there. I faintly remember how the amused shopkeeper had many a times offered the four year old me a red rose. 

just replace the cat with a mini me :P

The smell of books is something I am completely addicted to. Every new academic year when my dad returned home with bags with my news books, I would hurriedly open the packet and smell each and every book and carry them everywhere with me. I love scampering around old bookstores, finding the oldest books and flipping through the yellow pages smelling the amazing romantic smell (yes, I can smell romance as well), older the book, yellower its pages and stronger the scent.   My maternal uncle has a personal library with books that are more than 50 years old and some even older, from his own childhood. Every time I visit them, I spend my entire time sitting in that old room with shelves containing books every where, reading some and smelling some. I love flipping through pages, caressing them and smelling them when I read books. Books are after all supposed to be absorbed in entirety, tasting them with all your senses (except maybe tasting them literally) and not just read with your eyes alone.

Yes, I am a book sniffer.

Another very favourite smell of mine (yeah I am that weird, I have favourites in odours as well) is the smell of baked food - cakes, pastries, cookies etc etc. Every time the smell of a freshly baked cookie enters my nostrils, it instantly takes me back to my childhood when my mom used to bake us cakes and "nan khatais" (it is a kind of eggless crispy cookie/biscuit) .Well my super sensitive nose was of course bad news for my mum for she had to always think of new hiding places for all these goodies she prepared or the little mouse that I was, I would sniff around everywhere in the house in search of them and gobble them as fast as I could. 

Freshly baked goodies ^_^

As a Bengali the Durga Pujo and the time associated with it is of special significance to us. Also during this time, the air has a magic about it. it smells of a hundred different things all somehow associated with the pujo. The faint scent of the fragrant shiuli flowers from the backyard early in the morning, the smell of chandan and incense from the pujo, the fragrance of the jasmine, mogra, marigolds and all other flowers from the garlands around the pujo mandap, the intoxicating smell of the dhuno from the dhunuchi dance in the evening, the aroma of the delicacies cooked during those four-five days all combine together for a sniffers' delight.

That is a dhunuchi

So what are your favourite smells, the ones that revive any special memory from your past?

This Post is written for the "Smelly Air to Smiley Air" contest at Indiblogger sponsored by Ambipur. Check out the Ambi Pur Facebook page for the amazing array of room fresheners available in different scents and different varieties to keep your rooms smelling like cherry blossoms whenever your want. Just a few sprays and you can easily get rid of any unwanted odour, be it the the musty stench during the monsoon or the despicable smell of discarded socks in an instant.

 Till Next,

P.S.- All pictures (except my signature of course) are google finds.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Mia Woman - Ganga Mashi

The word Mia in Italian means "My" and in Danish means "beloved". In my words it would mean an extension of me, of my identity, of who I am.

What does Mia Woman mean to you?

To me she is that epitome of womanhood - beautiful, efficient, smart and loving ; someone who is in perfect control of her life, be it her household or her workplace. She is the woman who thinks of her work to be her religion and her motivating force, a medium of her self expression and also a place through which she can bring in change, in her life and in the world, however small it might be.

My Mia woman is somebody I have always admired and emulated since the time I gained consciousness- my aunt, my mom's twin sister, Ganga mashi ("mashi" is the Bengali for your mom's sister) . Apart from the fact that I love her because she is my aunt, it is the person she is which commands respect, admiration and love from everybody around her. There hasn't been a single time she has ceased to amaze me with her beauty, her work and her dedication to every single thing she does. Mashi is differently-abled, one of her hands don't function properly; but that hasn't stopped her from doing everything she had wanted to do, overcoming all the physical obstacles on the way. She has been the perfect daughter, taking care of my dida (i.e. my granny) when she was extremely ill, which my uncles as sons failed to do. She single-handedly took care of my ailing granma for fifteen years till she passed away, sacrificing a lot from her personal life. What makes it all the more admirable is the fact that she never spoke a word of complaint against all the hardships she had to endure in the process.

That's her :)

What I admire the most about her is not just how she handled her personal crises but how she managed her work and gained the love and respect from everyone she knows. My aunt is an LIC agent. She started working for the Insurance company some twenty years ago when the whole concept of saving your money against future accidents wasn't very well known. Mashi's job requirements demand her to interact with a lot of people (her clients) on a daily basis, to be almost at their beck and call to collect and submit the money to the company in time. What makes her extra special is how she has actually transformed a lot of lives in the process. She went around to not very well educated people around the area she lives and helped them grasp the importance of having an insurance covered for their life so that their loved ones are not left helpless after them. And all of this wasn't done for of the commission she would get for each case she submitted, because I know a lot of under privileged people who have their lives insured and haven't paid a penny, my aunt paid the entire amount, all the installments from her own earnings for them. What started as a job requirement has now transformed into a personal relationship for my aunt. The people who are her clients have now turned her into a member of their own family for she has embraced each of them as her very own. The job leaves her with no time of her own and no holiday. She efficiently managed (and still does) all the household chores along side taking care of my granny and going to work everyday and running to help people whenever she was called for even if it is in the middle of the night. Every time I walk the streets with her, I see some old man, a tiny five year old and some lady wave at her with a smile, asking , "Bhalo acho?" (meaning "How have you been?") and she waves back replying and handing over a candy to the kid.

Ganga Mashi is everything beautiful means - simple, independent, loving and demure. She has not only made her own life beautiful with her work but has also spread her beauty to other lives around her. She is as beautiful as her work.

Check out this beautiful TVC by Tanishq which represents everything their Mia collection is - light and beautiful yet unflashy.

I believe that your clothes and your jewelery is representative of you, an external manifestation of the beautiful woman you are, inside and outside. If you liked those pretty danglers on Megha in the clip, check out Tanishq's website for them and more here.

Till next,