Monday, July 28, 2014

The different fragrances of my life

What's an evocative journey for you? 

Is it something that engages all your senses?

Is it one that makes you return to the photographic images again and again? Recount its stories to your friends endlessly? 

When Indiblogger and Godrej Aer asked us here to talk about my evocative travel experience to help them create the first crowd-inspired fragrances, I decided to just scan my mind for the fragrances I remembered from various places and not go into the details of the trip logistics - because what was evocative for me was the sights and smells and that's what I remember even days after th trip has ended... :)

Mystic mountains

I have been to many mountain ranges because I love the feeling of being protected by those tall natural structures around me! My most memorable trip to the mountains has to be to the majestic Himalayas, where we drove to Manali taking a spiral path up the gorgeous hills. Being constantly aware of the danger added to the thrill of this journey. Being out there, admiring nature's beauty hidden in those rocks and mountains, greeting simple mountain people on the way whenever we stopped for a break, eating homely food and taking in the sights and smells - all of it is forever etched in my mind. Here are some of vivid recollection of fragrances that I remember from my hill journeys:

  • The fresh smell of mountain streams that originate from so many places. I associate this stream water with freshness and pureness so this fresh aquatic smell always arouses a sense of trust in me.
  • The earthy smell of the rocks. This smell of earth, gravel and ground takes me back to my childhood where I had the luxury of playing in the open unlike the unfortunate children of today who are stuck in high-rise apartments and video games
  • The freshly washed leaves of the hill trees. They always smell of mist and dew, being high up there in the altitude their smell is not like city trees - tired and pollute, rather they smell free, leafy and wholesome.
Magical beaches

I am a beach bum. Though I don't know how to swim, I can sit for hours on a beach with a book and a martini! My best trip to a hill was predictably to Goa. I love the madness of North Goa and the calmness of South Goa. On this particular trip that I lovingly remember, we spent days in South Goa, just listening to the waves, looking at children playing, eating sea food, drinking beer and taking in the luscious aromas all around us! My senses are constantly invited by a range of fragrances around me...

  • The salty scent of surf. The sea waves coming close to you and going far away have this amazing salty smell that you can smell from far away. I'm so surprised that none of the perfumes or room fresheners I have used has ever captures this wonderful salty smell of the surf!
  • The smell of pebbles and shells on the sea. It is infused with the smell of sea and yet retains its own distinct smell, each time you try to bend and collect them you can take in the aroma of playful shells
  • The smell of sand becoming gradually wet as sand comes in closer and closer with high tide. If you have build castles in the sand by the sea, you would know the wonderful aroma of the sand and how the dry and the wet sand are totally distinct smelling because the way the sea water adds its touches to them
My city, my home

I live in a city. No matter how much I detest the crowd, pollution and selfishness that comes with a city, it is my current reality. There are tonnes of smells that I am assaulted with daily, and some of them have become an essential part of my existence as they are what I associate with 'home'! Here's what I mean:

  • The fresh breakfast smell of Bangalore. If you're walking on the roads, you will smell the best of breakfast items coming from most cafes, like masala dosa, steaming idlis, poori, upma - all mixed with the richness of filter coffee. Without these familiar smells my mornings never feel complete.
  • After the lovely Bangalore monsoons, the tress look clean and the ground smells awesome - earthy, washed and inviting! I'm yet to meet a person who doesn't love the smell of freshly washed mud/ sand!
  • The market smells arrest your senses. I can clearly tell you what a unique smell feels like - though it doesn't have a single unique ingredient! It is the smell of freshly died fabric mixed with the smell of freshly opened leather of shoes mixed with the smell of pizzas being baked somewhere - this is the market right next to my house with mostly clothing and shoe stores along with some cafes :)
So, here was my world of smells for you, fragrances that take me back to the place where I first smelt them - every single time! Fragrances that never lose their hold on my memories because of how I associate them to unique facets of mountains, beaches of my home in a city :)

Do share your fragrant memories with me :)

(Some images are from pixabay)

#WhatTheBlack sways you in its current!

So, yesterday I wrote a post about all those irresistible wonders and beauties that I desired wanted to own in black, and since then I haven’t stopped thinking. It seems like everywhere I go, whether a mall, a supermarket, a restaurant or a cinema, there are fabulous objects in black staring right at me. Even if I switch on the TV, it’s the king of colors, the color black that catches my attention. So, you tell me, how can I not make another list of five wonders in black that have taken my fancy?

Now in this list, I have included things that I absolutely ‘adore’, but may or may not necessarily want to ‘own’, not because of any other reason, but because they can’t possible be owned. Well, that doesn’t stop me from wanting and desiring them, does it? So here I go, very poetically albeit!

Black comedy, that satires
in style,
it makes light of matter
that otherwise may be too vile.

It was coined in 1935
by surrealist theoretician André Breton,
to make light of serious issues
and says so much more than written! 

Black panda is the cuddly one
With its white and black eyes
I hope we can save them
Before this endangered creature dies.

If only I could own a Black Panda,
I love it to my best ability!
Take care of its safety and protection,
Educate people about its many qualities.

Black bird, I saw it in the wild
Quiet, unassuming and musical
With its yellow beak
It creates an effect quite magical.

In my city life I miss natural charms,
A Black Bird would bring such delight,
I would be its loving mother,
It would sing for me day and night!

Little Black dress, oh that beauty
In any girl’s wardrobe it’s essential
If you want to look classy
Then an LBD is fundamental.

Coco Chanel’s famous quote said
A girl should be two things:
classy and fabulous. Only an LBD
can make it possible, in the right fittings

Black current, that delicious ice-cream,
With its surprising flavor
And citrus tang,
You never feel tired to savor!

I want to stock my fridge with it,
And never let it get over,
Eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner
Whether in Delhi or Sydney or Dover!

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at

(Images from, and

The undisputed king of colors: BLACK

A bunch of us were sitting at a pub recently and a rather interesting topic came up: colors. It started with the color scheme of somebody’s new house and went into areas like importance of various colors in different cultures, how colors can affect a person’s mood and what a world without colors would be like. For me, it was rather nice for all of us to talk of something so real after a month of talking about nothing but football!

I won’t go into the details of some of the points that came up but want to definitely recount something that stayed in my memory from that conversation. One friend who loves red said that because red is such a bright and vibrant color, it has to be the ‘queen’ of all colors. Another friend asked her what are the qualities of a queen that ‘red’ meets, so she said: exciting, full of life and attractive. In response to this, a friend said something very fascinating. He said that if those are the qualities of a queen, then the qualities of a king have to be:


I asked him why. He said that people need to look at their king and feel an immediate sense of respect, an immediate sense of aura around him as well as this unknown mysterious quality. Then we decided to play a little game. We all took a small piece of paper each and wrote down the color that symbolized all these qualities of a king.

Guess the color that everyone UNANIMOUSLY wrote as the color of a king, symbolizing all strengths like charisma, charm, mystery and dependability?

Yes. It was the king of colors, the color BLACK.

Isn’t it amazing how all of us converged on the decision that black is that unsaid uncrowned king of colors, full of rich dark mystery and respect? To add to this slight seriousness, take the black of the suave suits that Shahrukh Khan wears at literally ALL film function and you have a dash of sexy!

Now add a pinch of the ultra sleek Little Black Dress that Anne Hathaway wore at the Oscars luncheon, and you have a dose of gorgeous.

With this, if you mix the foot-tapping tunes of the music band Black-eyed Peas, you have a whole new rush of fun! So, there you go! Black can be so much and more!

Given how convinced I am that Black is the king of colors and has all the desired qualities, you won’t be surprised that there are some highly desirable objects that I might want, in nothing else but black? What are these objects, you ask? Well, let me list them down, one at a time.

The sultry black Bat mobile

Yes, that sexy, sophisticated bazooka of a vehicle that spells nothing deep dark mystery and the ultimate in automobile functionality!

Ever since the day, as a little girl, I saw a batman movie, I was hooked to his lethal capabilities. He saved the world, hidden behind a mask, a good Samaritan who cared for no personal fame but only the good of others – how can one not look up to such a man, especially if the ‘one’ is a girl, and that too one besotted by the good Samaritan’s good looks. But a large part of my besotted-ness was because of that extra something that Batman had. Yes, it was his sassy Batmobile!The super awesome, super fancy, the gadget-laden car is used by Batman in his crime-fighting activities.

If I get to own the Batmobile, I will also be the best Samaritan, the hidden massiah. I will help people and then swooosh away in my gadget-rich car. Nobody will know who is this mysterious Canary, who leaves no trace, only good deeds! Now, do you blame me for wanting a piece of that mean machine?

Black hole, thrilling astronomical phenomenon

Yes the same one propounded by the genius known as Stephen Hawkins. A Back hole is a region of space-time from which nothing can escape, whether objects or light. A black hole doesn’t have any fixed shape. It is what remains when a star dies. a highly compressed and massive core.

Ever since I read that brilliant book called ‘A brief history of time’, I remember wondering about the magical world of Black holes. Such an ingenuous concept – so unheard of, unthought of! I wondered what it would look like if I managed to get close to it enough to be able to lay my eyes on it. I wondered what it would feel like if I touched it, what it would sound like and smell like.

So here’s my wild fantasy now – I want to own a Black Hole! Yes, one all for myself. While it will retain all its properties and unique features, I will decide what it does, who it traps and what it holds. I may build a house in it (Yes, surprise surprise!) or a school for children interested in astronomy. I may hold film screenings there, or have a great dance party! Anything that I do, I'm sure that the mysterious and fascinating structure of Black Hole will add an extra edge to my plans and hopes!

The black book of Ranbir Kapoor!

If you didn’t know what is a black book, let me tell you! A black book is that one that has a list of secret contacts, or of the names of people involved in something mysterious like those with whom the person has illicit affairs!

In the case of gangsters, police wants their black book for finding details of the crime – and you will know this if you have watched any good mafia movie from Hollywood or read a decent crime thriller novel. But I'm not interested in all that. I'm interested in getting black book of our very own Bollywood heartthrob! So now that you know what’s a black book, guess what all can I find in Ranbir Kapoor’s black book? And no my intention is not to blackmail him because I think he’s very talented, my intention is just to find some really juicy information and have a good laugh with my friends. Of course its another matter that I'm sure ill be flooded with requests for numbers of Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and the other pretty lasses after that, and that I may supply if treated to a fancy lunch.

The black box of all airplanes that have crashed

Wikipedia says that, a black box or a flight recorder is an electronic recording device placed in an aircraft for the purpose of facilitating the investigation of aviation accidents and incidents. There are two common types of flight recorder, the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). In some cases, the two recorders may be combined in a single unit. Flight recorders are required to be capable of surviving the conditions likely to be encountered in a severe aircraft accident.

Now even though a black box is not really ‘black’, but rather a bright ‘orange’ so that it can be seen easily, I think it’s not a coincidence that it called a ‘black’ box. In fact you will AMAZED and INTRIGUED to know that the origin of the term "black box" is uncertain. It is an informal and imprecise term, almost never used within the flight safety industry or aviation. So here we have this world class technology, and it is called by a mysterious name that nobody knows the origin of! What more do you need to prove that there is nothing else that says MYSTERY better than black! If they didn’t want dark, hidden, mystery, they would have called it a ‘pink’ box or a ‘lemon-green’ box – but no. they wanted something that arouses interest, something that denotes seriousness with a hint of the unknown – and what did they name it? A BLACK BOX.

But what will I do with it? After the recent Malaysian air tragedies and seeing the pain of the family members and the speculations from everybody else, I feel that if I can get access to the black box of these planes, I may be able to find some clues. The second tragedy seems to have happened without any fault from the Malaysian side, but I'm wondering if there is some clue that may help solve some other mystery. The first flight’s black box ofcourse is the most sought after because of the innumerable conspiracy theories surrounding it!

Black Knight satellite with its unsolvable puzzles

There has to be so much talk of the magical, the mysterious and conspiracy, that the fifth item I have picked to add to my BLACK COLLECTION is the Black Knight satellite. To quickly share with you as to what it is, an alleged object orbiting Earth in near-polar orbit that UFO-logists and fringe authors believe is approximately 13,000 years old and of extraterrestrial origin.

Throughout history there have been many instances where the media, UFO-logists, scientists and even some governments reporting that they have reported objects which are dark and tumbling in space. While I do agree, being a rational, that this might all be guess-work based on many different stories over time, I feel that IF THERE IS something like a Black Knight satellite, then I’d like to own it!

And why? Well, because if it is true then this will perhaps be the biggest news after the God particle. And being the person who owns it and has exclusive rights to it, I would be behind all the excitement, even to the extent of getting to name it! Right! So how does this sound – the Black Canary satellite? No… Okay, here’s another one – the Canary’s personal black satellite. No? Okay, last try – the black satellite of Canary the knight. Okay, I know this is the worst of the lot.

Or why don’t we do another thing? Why don’t you suggest the name of this spectacular satellite to me? And if I like the name suggested by you, I may even add a small part of your name to it! Deal? :)

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at 

(Images from,,,,,,,

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zing it up, zest it up

Now that I wrote about the five people who bring zest to my life, how can I forget the situations that make my mundane a little magical? So here are five situations that zest up my life:

A selfie gone wrong

Yes I'm old world and cannot understand why people stand with their backs against pretty places and block the wonderful view with their faces for a picture! I get sadistic pleasure when selfies go all wrong (for other people of course because I never take them)! Take a picture of the Taj Mahal, people and not of yourself pouting against it!

An office meeting canceled

Of course, this continues from the school days where sudden holidays were the sweetest words somebody said to you! I love it when something unexpected blocks meetings from happening – of course I never hope it happens because somebody is unwell or something, but sudden engagements, other commitments, unavailability of people, or any other harmless reason is good!

A traffic blockage rescued

Thanks to a Good Samaritan or a rare traffic cop who loves his job, sometimes traffic jams so get cleared up! I love those moments where you’re tired after moving inch by inch and then suddenly the vehicle in front of you zooms ahead – only then you realize that the road to happiness is all clear!

A spurt in motivation to exercise

Lazy and procrastinator that I am, there are those rare days when I actually ‘feel’ like exercising. Though such days don’t come too often, when they do, I totally dig them!

An unexpected compliment

Ever happened to you that you’re preoccupied with something else and then along comes somebody who tells you that your hair looks pretty today and you burst into a smile? Well, unexpected compliments anywhere – work, friends or even with random people – make my day. Is anybody listening?

This post is a part of the #ZestUpYourLife activity in association with TATA Zest and