Saturday, 31 August 2013

Nostalgic Smells – Olfactory-evoked Recall of Memories!!

The term ‘nostalgia’ describes sentimentality for the sublime past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Since each person experiences different things in life, the association between scents/fragrances and emotions/memories is unique to every individual.

How many times have you caught a faint whiff of a scent fills you with nostalgia and that immediately reminded you of the ‘good old days’ or long forgotten events in your life with stunning lucidity? It transpires our unfathomable minds that have filed some events neatly in some unreachable corner of the brain, primed for instant retrieval.

Human beings tend to emphasize vision over all other senses. Still, scent is intimately related to memory; despite not playing a major role in our daily lives, even in today’s visually driven world, it often triggers a strong déjà vu like sensation. It contributes to shaping our perceptions of the world and our psychological makeup by sending memories through a rose-tinted filter that redefines them as "good times".

Despite the fact that the sense of smell in humans is somewhat pitiful when compared to most animals, it is still highly acute and has the ability to magically transform millions of invisible odor particles into what science calls ‘involuntary recall’. It is amazing how a few simple airborne molecules trigger such vivid recollections.

Nostalgic Smells - Pungent Memories

Baked cakes:
Take a bite of food and think about how it tastes. Then, pinch your nose and take another bite. Notice the difference? It's just another reason to appreciate your knockout of a nose!

Baked foods such as cakes, biscuits and baking bread made up the largest category of nostalgic smells. It takes me back to my childhood memories, the times when we were free from the responsibilities and anxieties of adulthood.

The elusive odor of nature as I peep outside my room’s window reminds many of my carefree childhood days. It makes me feel fresh and rejuvenated. The fragrance of soil after a shower of rain that brings relief and makes you feel alive again.

Phenyl smell:
The pungent odor of phenyls used for cleaning messy floors.

Ambi Pur:
I use it for clean, fresh, and smelly air in my little home. It is heavenly!

New books:
The nostalgic smell of an old paper turned yellow or the fresh scent from a new notebook page. My favorite novel that remains untouched for days due to my hectic life!

My mom makes the best mutton biryani, and I can vouch for that! Especially, the biryani odour and the daal tadka smell seem to increase my hunger all the more! The combined smell of Ghee and Elaichi while making a sweet, the aroma of sizzling hot Bhajjiyas in the monsoon, the redolence of fresh coffee and masala tea bring simple pleasures in life. Your sense of smell warns you of dangers such as smoke and poisonous gases. It also helps you appreciate the full flavors of food and drinks.

Perfumes bring memories. They are so powerful that sometimes they remind you of the long forgotten people who used them! 

My mom loves flowers! The perfume of roses and other flowers lingers in my home. The fragrance of Jasmine and Mogra gajra’s my mom gets often leaves me refreshed after a hectic day.

Ah! This place is a collection of fragrances. The smell of freshly washed towels, aroma of shampoos, soaps, Dettol, etc. that lingers in almost every household bathroom.

The healing smell of Vicks inhalation that brings you instant relief when you are irritated with cold and cough.

New Shoes:
The nostalgic smell of new shoes and its box - that glorious smell of unspoiled, sweat-free fabric that surrounds you each time you pull it on.

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