Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Olfactory Sense

Recently I have regained my sense of smell - regained because the same had been missing for quite some time due to the sinusitis that I had been suffering from. I do not know when exactly did I lose my olfactory sense, but I distinctly remember that it was intact during my Bombay tenure. I used to commute by local train at Bombay and whenever the train passed Mahim, I came to know of the same due to the presence of a very strong stench, which emanated from the Mahim creek. In Bombay local trains, during the peak rush hours, one gets so tightly stuffed in side the compartments that it is practically impossible to have a view of the outside world, except for a few who would grab the window seats or the ones who prefer to hang at the doors. There were a variety of other smells in the train like that of human sweat and different hair oils which one could not avoid as the bodies tightly rubbed against one another. Then there was the smell of fish if one found oneself pushed into a luggage compartment in the rush of the crowd. But the Mahim smell was prominent of all and was also the indication of having covered approximately half the distance between home and office.

All this while, the loss of my smelling power kept me deprived of the pleasure of some pleasant odors of various items like tea and coffee, fruits and flowers, foods and beverages and also some good wines and whiskies as well. However, at the same time I also enjoyed the pleasure of not having been bugged by any foul smells which are more prevalant in this world full of environmental pollution. Though at times I did look like an innocent fool when people around me held their handkerchiefs tightly against their noses, complaining of some foul smell in the vicinity or when they discussed their aftershaves or deodorants/perfumes etc. The absence of the smelling power could have also led to some accident if there was a gas leak or electric short circuit leading to hidden smoldering, as I would not have smelt the same. But then there were other people at home or at work place to take care of that.

When I talk of home I must mention that Jeet is endowed with a very sharp nose and she often flaunts it. While taking a walk in the colony she would look towards some one's kitchen and remark " someone is preparing tomato soup" or " someone is frying lady fingers" and by the time we would complete our evening walk she would have known about all that was cooking in the neighborhood (kitchens only please). To my greatest envy she can even tell the smell of boiling potatoes.

Coming back to the regaining of my sense of smell (my sinusitis seems to be getting better), I am experiencing very strange phenomena. Thankfully, I am able to sense only the pleasant smells till now, but I am sure that gradually when my smelling power gets fully activated I will start feeling the stink too. I wish that the medical science could come out with some invention whereby a person's smelling sensors could be so seasoned that one would feel only the pleasant odors and develop immunity to all other foul smells.


How do we know said...

Oh, for that, we dont need medical science.. it happens to me every single time.. i can smell the flowers, everything nice, and the leaking gas when left on (yes that has happened in my house) , but not the stink. Never the stink. The only bad smell i never miss is the one i m allergic to - petrol, diesel and non veg of any kind.
So, hope on. You never know what games your mind and nose might play on you.

Balvinder Singh said...

Oh great that u accessed my older post, i thougght no one will read these. Good that you are endowed with power to smell only pleasant smells. How great it will be if our other enses also fuction like that. Then it will " smell no evil, see no evil, hear no evil, touch no evil and taste no evil"

shail said...

I have really missed my sense of smell during the time I had sinusitis. Food tastes bland without the accompanying smell. It is frustrating. :) I am glad for my sense of smell eventhough it means I have to avoid bad odors!

Balvinder Singh said...

Shail, yes one really feels frustrated on not being able to enjoy life in full due to some malfunction of the body part.