Molecules bind to specific sites on the olfactory receptors in the nose. These receptors perceive smells and relay them to other parts of brain like the nearby Limbic System and Hippocampus, both of which have long been known to be involved in emotion, memory and mood.
Of all our senses, smells, fragrances, aromas, and stenches can trigger long-forgotten events or experiences in a way that almost take us there. We humans have the unique ability to identify hundreds of smells and to each of us they may mean different things.
When I open the box of Saagar’s t-shirts , I am hit with his child-man odour filtered through the mild detergent. His molecules are still there in that box. They take me right back into his warm, big bear hugs.
When I smell strong coffee, I revisit mornings and evenings when he would make himself one while I made tea. It takes me back to the kitchen with a kettle boiling for two, the cafetiere and his favourite mug which he got given one Christmas
The aroma of cumin seeds spluttering in hot oil takes me back to us cooking together. The malodourous onions remind me of the mountains of them he used to chop for his curry while cooking for his friends. Sometimes he wore swimming goggles while chopping them to protect his eyes. Funny chap! J
The frangipani incense sticks he loved to light in the evenings always made me smile. He lit them purely for their fragrance but unbeknown to him, for me they were an offering to the Gods.
His molecules are still here. They will always be here.