Most people who know me know I have an extremely long nose. Well, most people who see me know that. But those who know me really well, know that I obsess over noses. And I really mean, obsess.
The nose is the most prominent feature in anyone’s face. I mean it literally sticks out. Except maybe on Voldemort‘s face. My family’s legacy is the long nose. And everyone has been marrying people with long noses. My dad married my mom who has a long nose. My sister married a guy with a long nose. I wonder if it is some criteria that has to be fulfilled before going out with someone.
Forget having to put up with people who call you Pinocchio, cock-face (referring to the bird here) or Snoop Dogg (the worst so far). You know, my grandfather told me that we long nosed people are of Roman descent? Yes! Why do you think an aquiline nose is called a Roman nose? I know aquiline noses don’t have to be long, but most of the time, they are. And grandfather stories are always true aren’t they? And boy when I went to Italy I saw the truth myself. It’s easier than tying your shoe lace to tell a tourist from an Italian there. ALL Italians have long, handsome, sharp noses.
Everything to do with the nose is so special to me. The sense of smell is my strongest sense. And nostalgia triggered by smells? It’s incredible. The other day I used a bit of Garnier shampoo in my aunt’s house. As soon as i opened the bottle I was transported 6 years back, to a bathroom in Mangalore, where I had last used that shampoo. All memories from that trip to visit my sister came flooding back to me. It’s weird, I even save up some smells like they’re so precious because I like that sense of nostalgia. I had some great memories in Chennai, where I lived for a year. When I moved back to Bangalore, I disposed the body wash I used there so that I smell it many years later and indulge in happy Chennai thoughts.
I have also noted in so many movies and books the stress they lay upon smells. In this movie by Rituparno Ghosh called Unishe April, a scary amount of memories come churning back into the mind of this girl who smells a perfume. I even think it’s the turning point in the movie, when the girl is suddenly taken over by that sense of nostalgia and she yells out all her bad memories to her mother, with whom she has had a quiet and strained relationship until then. After the perfume bottle opens, she and her mum spill out all their issues in a heart-to-heart talk and decide to make up for all the lost years.
The first thing I noticed about Bombay, on that first day, was the smell of the different air. I could smell it before I saw or heard anything of India, even as I walked along the umbilical corridor that connected the plane to the airport… It’s the blue skin-smell of the sea, and the blood-metal smell of machines. It smells of the stir and sleep and waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrines, churches, mosques, and of a hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfumes, spices, incense and freshly cut flowers.
Such a lovely paragraph! Each word comes alive with smells! I had never noticed that reading a book can be such a treat to the nose.
So don’t dis the nose. It defines your face. It is what doesn’t make you look like Voldemort. And the sense of smell is not any less valuable than your sight or hearing. After all what is the world without the smell of rain, petrol or paint?