Thursday, August 22, 2013

Smelly to Smiley

A Journey through the breadth to the heart

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

It is funny how scent or smell takes us places, places where we long to go, places where we come from. Anything that culminates at the sensory level, stays quite long in our hearts and invokes such emotions that only the heart can comprehend. Such is the power of a good scent. For we can close our eyes to things that we do not want to encounter but no one can escape scent. We take it in every moment as we breathe and we cannot escape it not if we want to live. 

(Google images)

Once I asked my grandmother why is ice so cold, to this my grandmother replied, ''Because it does not smell anything it is cold.'' She knew more about the power of a good scent.

Now, coming back to my nostalgic memories associated with smell, I would take you to my childhood days when I started to relate things to a distinct smell. I’ll take you to my home in Lucknow, the city of nawabs and Kababs, where I learnt a lot about the smell of  ‘home’.

(Pic from Google Images)

I love the smell of home, my home in Lucknow smells of incense stick, wood and has this peculiar 1950s brick smell. The ‘Puja room’ smells of chandan and sweets very peculiar to the  ‘Kaali Badhi’. That whole aroma that wafts out of the Puja room reminds me of human faith; of man’s search for God and meaning; and the amount of confidence we attach to God. I feel so much at peace then. So strong is this smell that even on the streets if I come across such a familiar fragrance; I look around for a temple or a prayer place. For me this is the scent of heaven or a place where God is-- God's abode.

(Kaali badhi- Timesof India)

Coming from a Bengali household, for me kitchen smells of nothing but mustard oil , turmeric and fishes. The smell of fish reminds me of my roots and how much I love it. I kind of take pride and enjoy the fact that we as this clan are religiously passing down our love for this limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins generations after generations. You just cannot get the Bengali out of me!

(Pic courtesy:

Adding to that have you ever smelt turmeric in hot mustard oil? I’d say do smell it it is because it is just divine! And for me this is how a gourmand’s kitchen should smell. This peculiar smell is the smell of a inviting kitchen.

My childhood was mostly spent in the kitchen or searching for my mother all around the house. Love, then smelt of my mom’s cotton saree and her skin that smelt of ‘Pears’. For me affection meant nothing more than that. 

Safety was just a hug away! I, now tend to search that very same smell, the smell of love and security, in my husbands T-shirts but sadly it has the elite French perfume written all over it. Ah! there were so many memories brewing out of my childhood home. Like the smell of tea which reminded me of guests at home and people, coffee reminded me of examinations; now it reminds me of concentration time time to self-introspect, time to write.

Security smelt nothing but dad who smelt of ‘Lifebuoy’ soap.

(Pic courtesy:

Sisterhood meant the smell of freshly baked cakes. We are three siblings, who,back then, were always trying new things in the kitchen but what stays close to my heart are the memories associated with freshly baked cakes along with the aroma of it.  We used to bake so many cakes together. It was a combined effort, starting from the beating the eggs to adding chocolate essence to the cake batter to stirring, finally waiting and constantly looking inside the electric oven. And the joy the joint effort used to bring to our faces. Whenever I bake cakes the instant aroma that gushes out of the oven takes me backs to the years when life was very simple and love was nothing unattainable.

(Google Images)

I miss those days! We have shared so much, from Camlin paints to sandals to candies and our secrets.

All in all, this is how I feel a home should smell. It should smell warm and welcoming. A place where your faith is made strong and your heart is made happy. And where memories are created each and every moment. In my case each strong memory has a good perfume or aroma attached to it. Things that please our olfactory sense, somehow trigger such nostalgic emotions in us and yet the science is hard to explain or comprehend and it’s power is yet so overwhelming.

I want to thank IndiBlogger and Ambi Pur for this contest. It brought back so many memories. For others, do check:

Friday, August 2, 2013

Let’s learn to live; I’d say,
little by little.
Let’s learn to walk before we run
Let’s learn to run before we leap
Let’s learn to see before we witness
Let’s learn to look at the sky, the stars and then beyond
Let’s live to learn,I’d say again,
little by little

At standard 6, if I can recollect, I knew what my teacher meant when she said I was loquacious, I knew it because one of the Bronte Sisters taught me this in one of their novels. Shakespeare taught me wit and yet another famous line, which is, ‘’You speak an infinite deal of nothing,’’ which I use even now, always to my advantage.  Shakespeare in 'Hamlet' on the other hand taught me how and why to be true to oneself:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Shakespeare has taught me a lot actually, he hovers around my opinion and my understanding of my day and twists them to his advantage always.

Virginia Woolf taught me on how to be a woman in a man’s world, Joan Didion taught me a great deal about self-respect. Milan Kundera is still teaching me about myself as a being and life that sometimes is unbearable. Ogden Nash, taught me how to laugh. The list still continues and would never end. And these writers and their thoughts are still with me everyday changing and developing my views on life.

It has been a long journey. Now for a twenty-seven year old woman, a journalist by profession, comparably I speak much, I know much, dream much consequently breathe much. There is confidence in me as I know that the world around me is a battle of wits and I am not unarmed. I am a woman of this world. I can creatively express my opinion effortlessly. Had I not read would my life be different? Yes, it would have been. Difficult, oblique and deliberately inarticulate. But, this all happened because I can read and my need for books has been met with a constant supply of good books.withIt all started at a very young age Dr Suess, Enid Blyton, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, Dickens and many more and it started at the right age.

Coming to think of it, I feel I have been very privileged and I belonged to that group that ‘Have’. On a more prolonged and deeper thought I felt that maybe there are many more Joyeeta’s who probably do not belong to the ‘Have’ group but are desperately seeking the opportunity to read good books and get inspired. Inspiration comes from good content and it is, in my opinion, everyone’s right to get that good content.

And I quite agree to Rohini Nilekani when she says that there should be a book for every child. I see that this woman and her NGO has gone a long way to get good books in English and other regional languages out there into the some of the most poorest nooks across the country. Putting books out there for the creative commons so that they can be shared without proprietary walls is an intelligent way to spread knowledge far and beyond. Spreading knowledge in such a way is like creating more power and like light it continues to spread and again creates more power.  One more thing that I loved about her concept was the power of creative collaboration and collaborative creation. I fully back Pratham’s dream to see a country where every child wants to read, is able to read, and has something good to read because I believe that reading good content empowers.

I feel that everyone should participate in a cause like this which involves nothing more than the love for reading and spreading knowledge. Another initiative taken up by Pratham which is the Read India Movement, which is – create story books, publish them, sell them, and spread their reach across the length and breadth of India so that they can find their way into the hands of a young child who wants to read. The idea, I believe is novel and we should participate by collaborating. Let us support the cause. Let us learn to live by giving a little.

Do watch this inspiring video:

Do Check:

Franklin Templeton Investmentspartnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


What if an old, similarly odd and sickly man walks up to you and confesses murder and to top the oddity he tells you to watch out, for it would rain fishes outside. What if you are a cop? Would you take him in? You would not. You will let him go. What if you realize that it is all true; there has been a gruesome murder in the neighborhood and it does rain fishes.

Kafka on the shore is one such novel packed with surreal happenings till the end. The novel begins with a 15-year-old, Kafka leaving his home to never come back and is followed by his father’s dark prophecy. The novel chases Kafka in the journey of his to escape his father’s prophecy and also the weakly old man Nakata who has this ability to talk to cats is a finder of strayed household felines. In Nakata’s one such search meets Johny Walker who kills cats and traps their souls to make a flute. It is in this very meeting that he forces Nakata to kill him.

The narrative of this 436 page novel is dream-like leaving the reader wonder as to what would happen next. Simply unputdownable. Kafka labors under the weight of an omen laid upon him by his father, a renown Tokyo sculptor who tells Kafka that he is destined to murder his father and sleep with his mother and sister. All this does happen but in such a way that leaves the reader gasping for air and still not being critical and judgmental about the unfolding of surreal oddity in every page.

If you want to start with something that charges your subconscious and leads you to a place so surreal along with a novel that is mobbed with adventure, mystery and love, you should give this Japanese writer, whose works have been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex', and his novels a shot.

If you are looking for something that would take a strong hold on you and get you out of reality. If you want to read something that would just make time stop and you beyond time then I would suggest look no further than this book.

ONE LINE VERDICT: This book would stay with me and so would the characters. Must Read!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The hallucinogenic flat in the opposite building

For once we thought it was a laptop screen but the heads watching over the screen did not move. For probably thirty minutes they just did not move. We got more curious. Curiosity did kill many people but maybe caution wasn't there friend. We were assured of such honest to god friendship from it’s end. However we are not gloating on that. My husband gave up on stressing at what exactly was happening in that flat opposite to mine. I did not give up cause I knew there was something about that flat that was more intriguing. And I loved how they have this green Marijuana wallpaper in their balcony.

Before I would start, I would like to apologize to the three young men who own that flat and assure them that nothing unwanted has been looked into while I looked into your flat every now and then and I have no intentions of stalking anyone. And now to the readers I would excuse myself from being called as a crooked neighbor who loves to have her gander, on the sly watching inside rooms.

But, yes, I must say I am intrigued to an extent that I want to literally enter that unknown flat facing my flat in the building next to mine. Everything about the flat is so wondrously psychedelic.

For evenings as for tube lights they have this purple haze sort of light all across the room. They take their positions in front of that very lap top and the same statue like concentration on the screen and for that very same amount of time. They look at the screen and sometimes over these shiny green beer cans maybe Heineken or over smoke. From a distance it looks hallucinatory. Wish I could just click them.  Have never been able to see any of the guys’ face.

Strangest thing is I have never seen them in the morning only that very time around eight. Sometimes there is no one around only smoke fog from the table or sometimes it is just that huge flat screen next to the door.

I wonder are these guys a different breed altogether or just the regular guys, maybe they are different. As I look at them I do wonder what they think of are they just like the 100 others around them or do they view life in that very purple light?

The look of the room does suggest that there take on life is way different from the common guys. They love to read even if it is over the internet.

Stranger still are the bed-sheets that the maid hangs out every morning. The sheets have this alien spaceships on them and one has these big leaves on it. Everything is so godamn different from the usual. Phew! That whole flat reeks of psychedelia.

The other day I saw their maid dry their clothes every thing hanging on that string was so out of the ordinary. The towel, their boxers, and a few other stuff everything was sap green in color just like the Marijuana color. I wondered it would be so great to meet such people. Meet them over those dense conversations, stare at the very screen motionless just like them.

I wonder about their maid for an instant and think that does she know how different her this set of masters are? Does it even cross her mind?

Maybe they just dig Floyd, Deep Purple,  Beatles, Mamas and Papas, Jimmi Hendrix, Jethro Tull and maybe they love to read absurd books.

Whatever they do, they are definitely a bunch of psychotropic people one can only meet in their dreams.

March 8, 2013 ( A day after I wrote the above post)

It was 5:30 pm yesterday. I came out of my Kitchen to our balcony and guess what! I see one of them having tea or whatever in a cup. He has a cup green in color exactly similar to my cup. He did look at me. Sigh! He looked so perfectly normal just like any other guy. Anyway one of the psychedel has revealed himself. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Change it is to Change us

I am passionate about living, to say the least. I am passionate about waking up every morning and opening my eyes to a wonderful day.

I am passionate about color all kinds, around me. I love my room for it is green in color and has these huge red abstract flowers spread on the creamy curtains covering it's pale white windows. I crib when the maid puts a plain white bed sheet because I love the one with blue space ships on it.

Now, you wonder and question my sanity in this regard as to why am I not blogging or writing about development or social change. What has it got to do with social change? I will try to explain.

It took a whole day and a lot of coffee to understand what 'social change' meant to me or us. The power it held in it. Pondering about this over a cup of coffee I realized that unless an until an intrinsic understanding is attained in this regard nothing, from saving energy to giving donations to NGOs, can bring about this change.

A pretty famous American journalist, P.J. O'Rourke, was once quoted saying that " You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money." It is something similar to that.

I personally am of the opinion that to bring about any change as impactful as being life changing for people involved you need to love what you see around, you need to love it to that extent that you feel for those for whom it's not possible.

As human beings who want to be a part of a society where we call ourselves the socially uplifted we need to understand the 'minutes'. We cannot just say that we strongly feel about energy wastage unless an until we experience the power of energy. We need to love what we believe in.

I see color all around, I love colors and I love it to that very extent that I hate to see how my world drops dead as soon as I close my eyes. This very act has made me feel strongly for those who are not that fortunate enough to see. We call them blind. I am moved at how not much is done for them. There are blind schools that are working towards training these children but they are again in want of funds.

I want to tell my readers that social change is possible only after every person feels that he is an equal and important part of the society and feels responsible and is moved or affected by any act that causes spiritual doom to the society.

Worries and dilemmas have taken a geometric progression and no matter how many of us try to improve society it would only follow an arithmetic progression.

At such a rate sadness and misery would always remain and stay here till the end of days. We need to to go back home and talk to our kids and husbands about how our life has more meaning than to just earning, running around for money, achievement.

We should connect ourselves to any NGOs working towards orphans or any type of disability towards children. We should spend time with them and make them feel that they are part of that big picture where they don't see themselves right now because we all agree that they are an important to a our country's future.

I feel that there is no point having an energy conserved society if you have just hooligans living in it who care nothing for the lesser fortunate. I see no point.

Here I would like to quote Swami Vivekananda, "Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth." This idea and feeling should be so intrinsic and embedded in our veins in such a way that it should be carried or passed down through in genes.

A helping hand is what I feel we should be to bring about change.

Change is possible only when we start looking inside and growing from there. Only after we become more aware as citizens and the power that we hold in bringing about this change, only then change is possible.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

In my search for good music I came across Ben Howard. Here are my top 5 of his tracks. Play on and live on!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I saw you.

Again, today.

There you were

a star in my universe.

The only star in my universe.

You are still in my head.

Am I still in your head?

For I have found you

in my despair, tempers.

In a series of dreams with no exits

you stay.

Take your time,

your springs, summers,autumns,

your winters.


One in a million.


From beyond time and space.


You of all would know,

and once you know;

you would know never to let me go.