Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Humans use their sense of sight better than other senses and I guess that is why people say that a picture can say a thousand words. But we have often overlooked another sense which has been capitalised by large corporations to generate vast income for them : the sense of smell. The perfume industry is indeed a big industry and so are industries dabbling in the production of talcum powder, bath products and air freshener. Even the food industries are big on smell. We can choose not to see something by closing our eyes but it's quite difficult not to smell unless you are willing to walk around with an oxygen tank and a mask glued to your face (you'll be considered weirder than Michael Jackson if you do that). I have often wondered why certain smells evoke and stir certain memories and feelings. I believe there must be some scientific explanation for that but putting that aside, who can resist a smell that seeps into the brain and lingers there forever? Its power lies in its ability to knock on our emotions and immerse itself in our deeper psyche. The smell wafting from a barbecue pit is enough to conjure images of juicy chicken, succulent steaks and spicy sate. The aroma of strong black coffee from the kitchen will usually wake all of our other senses. And the smell that emanates from freshly-bathed babies is just heavenly. I have often walked dreamily in public only to be rudely awaken by a certain smell, a smell that I can recall but cannot place. My whole day would be a total ruin if I can't find the source of the smell or remember where or when I have encountered the smell before. I won't be satisfied until I can place that smell and would spend the whole day trying to recall people, places or events associated with that smell. Then, there are certain fragrances which make you feel good and positive. I'm not big on fragrances but there are certain perfumes which swathe and envelop me in their positive aura. Still, this can differ from person to person. What works for you might not work for me. Most light men's fragrances do not work with me (I don't know why so don't ask me). I love strong spicy smell with a touch of ylang-ylang, sandalwood or patchouli (notice the Indian influences here?). Nothing too citrusy for me if possible. I love Aromatics Elixir by Clinique, Knowing by Estée Lauder, Rocco Barocco Silver Jeans and Lolita Lempicka but now, I have to be satisfied with the more affordable Body Shop line or other discount fragrances in order to cut cost (it doesn't matter much to me anymore as long as I smell quite okay). Certain fragrances on certain people can make you unable to think straight (I'm not talking about the infamous 'minyak senyonyong' here, okay?). One sniff and you are totally hypnotised. I guess that is why a lot of women refuse to tell others the perfume that they wear. They are afraid their secret will be known and they no longer have the power, the mystery and the aura that surround them. Right now, I smell something coming from the kitchen and my brain (which I no longer have no control of) is telling me to go there.

Favourite smells of a few people I know :

Z : Her hubby after a shower (you can imagine what happens next)
A : Babies (so motherlykan?)
L : Food, glorious food! (no comment)
F : Shampoo (he's a hairstylist so what do you expect?)
M : Nail polish (can be replaced by kerosene or other chemical spirits I think)
AA : Newspaper (or any photocopied materials)
T : Glue (no comment either)
K : Roses (so girly girly)
R : The interior of her new car (she wants to live in it if possible)
ZZ : Soil (he's not the 'greeny' type so I wonder why)