Powder Your Nose..

Powder Your Nose..


Vivek Hande


The sense of smell is a very important one and does contribute to the sense of taste as well. The sense of smell has a lot of emotional connect as well, as it is linked to memory in many ways. Smell triggers memories, passions, excitement, dreams, desires and what have you!


Without nose-diving too deep into the business of smelling, it must be understood that humans are not as good at the business of smelling as say, dogs and rabbits. Man has about five to six million olfactory receptors high up in the nasal passages as opposed to a rabbit which has about a 100 million and a dog, which on average has about 220 million receptors. Hence, a dog is a much better “smeller”. Women are regarded as having a more acute sense of smell compared to men- no surprises there! There are a few basic smells – Fragrant/ Floral; Fruity; Citrus; Mint; Woody; Resinous; Pine/ Grass; Chemical(Ammonia/ Bleach); Sweet ( Chocolate/ Vanilla) and a few others . If a person can’t smell completely or partially, he is Anosmic. Hyposmia and Hyperosmia refer to a reduction or an exaggerated sense of smell. Parosmia refers to perceiving a smell as worse than it is. Phantosmia is smelling odors which are not there. The sense of smell develops progressively after birth and generally plateaus by eight years of age.  It then declines with age, with certain medications and with chronic colds. When a person smells, the information is sent to two areas of the brain – the Frontal Lobe which helps recognize odors and the Limbic System which is linked to memory – it is for this reason that a particular smell or aroma brings back pleasant or unpleasant memories!


It is so often that a particular smell brings back so vividly images of a particular event or a memory or an association with a person. The smell of hot Dosas on a Tawa may take you back to your childhood; the strong smell of rich coffee may transport you to a lovely morning in a Parisian café; the smell of fresh grass being cut may take you several years back to a Cantonment where you grew up; a particular cologne may remind you of a particularly stylish professor; the smell of earth just after some rain(petrichor) may take you back to a holiday in the hills; the smell of a delicate perfume may bring back memories of your first date and may actually remind you of what she was  wearing- such is the strong association of memories with smells!


Smells are expensive and a bottle of the DKNY Golden Delicious Million will set you back by a cool Million Dollars. Of course, in addition to the fragrance, the bottle does add to the cost. One of a kind bottle, designed by jeweler Martin Katz, the bottle has a 2.43 Carat Yellow Canary Diamond on the cap. It does also have a lot more diamonds, rubies, sapphires embellishing the bottle.  A reasonable second is the Clive Christian Number 1 Imperial Majesty perfume smelling at $ 13000 an ounce! It lists as its ingredients Oris Root, Rose Oil, Tahitian Vanilla, Ylang-Ylang, Italian Cinnamon and Jasmine.  Anyone interested in powdering ones’ nose?


Each one has his list of special smells. High up on my list is the smell of the pages of a book. Nothing can quite match the smell of a book as far as I am concerned.   One can never go wrong with the aroma of freshly brewed strong coffee. Lemon, Vanilla, Petrol, Freshly baked Cookies or a Cake- smells to die for. And then there is the smell of fear; the smell of excitement and the smell of possibility – all very strong and evocative smells! One can smell blood and one definitely can perceive the smell of success. It’s quite often that we do smell a rat and know that something smells fishy. Its best, perhaps to keep ones’ nose out of other people’s business and keep ones’ nose held high or there is a strong possibility that your reputation may nosedive!

 And the sense of smell is a very individual trait. The way I sense or perceive a smell may be quite different from the way you sense it .Be that as it may , do stop to smell the Roses once awhile – you will be a happier person. Do believe me and I am honestly not being nosy!!


Author: vivekhande

A gastroenterologist who writes from the gut. an observer ; a learner ..

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