Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nose out.

Blogging after many days …
Its al most 10 days reaching back home. A kind of familiar and happy smell, a smell of ‘my own’ and the happy feeling of smelling all recognizable smells around.
As soon as I landed at Mumbai, took a deep breath …Wow. There was a construction work going on at Mumbai Airport. The smell of the wet cement, smell of the dust, summery smell of the midnight in the March, smell of the Samosa and tea. As I reached Bangalore I discerned the smell of the old fallen wet with dew Gulmohar flowers, on the road, the fragrance of the morning in the spring, smell of the boiling Sāmbhar in the neighbor’s house.
I have always felt the India is the territory of the millions of the odors. Or may be it’s me. Who just uses the big nose and justify the authentication of everything by smell. But I have smelled the sunlight, the smell of the exams and the smell of the currency (Rs. smell better then $$ or €€), smell of particular place.

As far as my knowledge is concerned there are around 1 lac different smells in this world. Your eyes might skip the view, or ears might edit the talk but this nose keeps on sensing inadvertently 24*7. You don’t have to make an effort to smell. Scientists in US believe 1% of the population suffers from anosmia (Absence of the sense of smell). In Sanskrit there is a word called ‘Vasna’ may be ‘Vas’ (odor) is the origin of that word.
Imagine how deeply the hunger and the taste are related with smell of the food!! The aroma of the cinnamon, curry leaves, cooked clove in the rice, Mangoes, golden brown fried onions, flavor of the Vanilla in the Kheer, smell of the Cumin seeds, the smell of the boiling ghee while preparing sweets, the Rose milkshake…OK now take away all the fragrances from the above list … Zilch.

Doggie recognizes the owner by smell. Infant recognizes mother with the smell of her milk. How do you think all the ants turn up? Many living thing on the earth express the love by smelling.
It seems the odor enters into nose through breath, it vibrates the ‘epithelium’ cells within, and there are receptors which draw in the different smells. And pass on this information to brain. The varieties of these receptors have not been recognized so far. (I might be wrong here)

Still there are questions like mouse, cow and human all have the same process of smelling? An animal and the human recognize a smell in the same way? Fish within the water and the flying bird have the same olfaction?

Well on the light note, Some fun facts about smell:
- Your nose can smell directionally, telling you where an odor originates.
- A woman’s sense of smell is keener than a man’s.
- Your sense of smell is least acute in the morning; our ability to perceive odors increases as the day wears on.
- People recall smells with a 65% accuracy after a year, while the visual recall of photos sinks to about 50% after only three months.
- The average human being is able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors.

Close up:
"Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it" - Valdimir Nabokov

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