So here’s the case of a nose that smells everything, only too intensely. Super smeller. That’s the word. My history of smelling goes a long way. Back to childhood, but at late teenage years I realized that I could smell too strongly. Like the time we ordered pizza at home. When the delivery guy was parking outside, I told mom the pizza has arrived, I could smell it. The porch must be at least 30 metres away, and when the bell rang, my mom looked surprised. No, her surprise wasn’t because of how I guessed it right, but because even our pet didn’t bark when the pizza guy parked his bike, as he would usually get alarmed on the slightest clink or smell. Some things can’t be defined or justified!
So what do I do with an acute smelling sense? I tend to dissect different smells (I so relate to the movie Perfume because of this). I have already written about the importance of olfactory receptors in food and my experiences (you may poke your nose here!). Now I bring to fore my daily routine when it comes to smelling regular everyday things and fragrances. You see, not many people will get bothered by any subtle smell wafting in the house, but that would certainly irk me until I get to know the source.
A floor where milk was spilled but not cleaned properly would catch my nose. I can sniff out the temperature increase in air-conditioning in office, as soon as someone fiddles around with thermostat. Garbage with too many liquids bothers me, so I am the first person to throw it away (I guess that’s why they invented different bins for wet & dry garbage). A stale scent even if faint can make me inquisitive. Not that I feel nauseated or overwhelmed by my acute smelling. It’s just a bit of anxiety.
Moving on with the positives, I can smell my body lotion even at day end on my hands. Which essentially means I am content with how I am smelling. On the downside, when I am stinking, I would be reaching out to perfumes and deodorants quite frequently. Funnily, I use perfumes to please myself, not others. Not to mention, I spend a stupid amount of money on body lotions and perfumes.
One thing I am particular about is washing my hands after not just meals but after working on computers, shopping at grocery, driving the car, a handshake, touching the escalator railings, or any substance that is public. Yes, it does border on OCD. It’s phobia or not, I can’t say, because it has become a ritual for me.
But at the same time, the smells overwhelm my senses in a positive way. I recall the pleasant smells more than the odors. Most of the times the smells bring back good memories. Like the smell of leather seats in a new car or the old car seats reeking of cigarette smells, both interest me. The different smells at cinemas. The way grocery stores smell takes me back to childhood, on to the most basic smells when even a chocolate biscuit kept hidden in a drawer would smell so nice. Adding to it, the smell of drawers, chests and other wooden furniture…they all are alluring. The fabric softener is the main reason I put the clothes in the washing machine so that I could smell it.
The smell of iron or metals in a train brings back memories of long train journeys. And the smell in the air! How do I elaborate on the smell of autumn, of the onset of winters and the way everything starts becoming romantic, eventually becoming quixotic in winters. The smell of air in the hills! When everything seems to purify the soul. When the mist seems to carry the goodness of apples and berries. And not to forget the smell of rains and the damp mud. The ultimate time for quenching the romantic notions of all things inexplicable.
There would be hundreds of smells I could relate to, but can’t define. But I am grateful to God that I have this heightened sense of smelling because of which I can sniff out beautiful memories, nosedive into the wonder years and make my world an enchanting place to live.