Reminders of home

When you are far away from home and haven’t been home in a long time, there comes a point when suddenly just some things and smells remind you of home. Perhaps your subconscious is subtly nudging you and reminding you that it is time to go back for a spell. Usually the things that remind me of home are food related! No surprise there! J Just an imagined whiff of something while walking down the street and instantly my mind starts craving home. This is my small list which reminds me of home:

1)      Smell of slightly burnt bread crumbs on the pan while making veggie cutlets: reminds me of my mom cooking cutlets at home.

2)      Aroma of freshly squeezed orange juice: hot summer evenings in India being pampered by mom during the exam season with freshly squeezed orange juice.

3)      Aroma of hot scorching earth when it receives the first drops of rain: Nothing can beat the June heat in Mumbai like a soaker coming down from heavens which will drench and flood everything and then some.

4)      While traveling on a bus with foggy windows on a rainy summer evening, the slick roads and tree lined street teleport me to my home streets on such a similar rainy evening many years ago.

5)      Re-watching a movie seen all those years ago with group of rowdy undergrad friends! Oh the joys of zero responsibility days and numerous friends!

6)      Fragrance of Ponds moisturizing cream in the CVS aisle. I swear just a whiff of it, and it transports me back to childhood days of using it.

7)      Waking up from a dream about home and thinking for a second you are in your childhood bed and waiting for your mother to yell at you for being late for school!


As you might have noticed the olfactory senses are so amazing. Without realizing it, we remember so many smells and associate them with different things in life. Though sometimes going home is a bit disappointing, because all travelers hope that their home hasn’t changed in their absence. And with every visit, there is a bit of you which gets disappointed and disillusioned because the home isn’t what it felt like in your mind. Sometimes the anticipation of home-just the way you had left it-is better than actually going back and breaking your illusions.


An un-broken heart

Have you ever been in love? Beautiful isn’t it? To fall in love in this harsh world is a wonderful thing, and to be loved in return is the most beautiful and lucky thing. Because when two people decide to commit each other through everything it makes life worth living.  It doesn’t make life easy, because it’s not easy being in love, but just that the hardships will be worth it.

But not everyone is lucky to find someone to love and be loved in return. Sometimes (I would like to say most often) love is one-sided, kinda like driving in one way lane. Sometimes it is unrequited and sometimes even after all your efforts you cannot hold on to it. There are many though who say, “What’s the big deal about love? You could become fond and generate affection for anyone with whom you spend a lot of time.” But I would say you want is love, affection and fondness is for your pet not partner. The elusive feeling in which you sometimes compromise not because you have to, but because you want to for someone. With a broken heart most people take two directions, either they fall for everyone in a rebound or swear off a relationship and find it very difficult to trust anyone. Though eventually mostly sane people manage to save themselves and pick up pieces of broken heart and glue it together again. They get on with their lives but like a glued object you can see the cracks on the heart, because of course there is no statute of limitations on a broken heart. Like cracked objects which can be used again, the heart slowly learns to set itself right and trust again.  By the time it cracks again, the heart has learned to make itself stronger and learn to take care of itself.

Then the heart looks around, and finds so many broken friends walking around, hiding behind the smiling faces and troubled eyes. It realizes being broken is part and circle of life which is so complex and at the same time so simple. All a troubled heart and head needs is someone to hold on in the hour of need and love. Someone to trust wholly, completely, without judging and someone who will care for your heart the way you would. And that is exactly what love is, exactly that simple, easy and exactly that difficult and complex to find. But if they can find the Higgs Boson, then of course you can find love. So just tell your heart to hold on and if you already have someone to love then hold on to them, because you have just found your elusive Higgs Boson.

Fiction vs Non-fiction

The Great Divide

This is reblog of my old post! But the thoughts still stand true!

The war between fiction and non-fiction readers is not new; it has been going on for ages. I started re-thinking about it today again when a friend posted this link on twitter. And which better day to talk about fiction and fantasy than J. R. R Tolkien’s  122nd birthday.

I have heard many friends proclaim proudly, “I read only non-fiction these days. I am done with reading fiction.” I also had someone once tell me-with a disdain- “I can’t read fiction; it’s too far-fetched for me. As a scientist I would like to read facts presented in a concise manner.” I don’t understand such people. Everyone has their own tastes, but that doesn’t make your opinion and tastes better than others. I don’t read non-fiction as often, but I don’t proclaim to the world, how “boring” it is to read pages after pages of facts presented to you in a “concise” manner.  Some friends I know don’t like fiction because they feel that they can’t identify with the characters or that there’s nothing to “learn” from reading fiction.

While I understand that you probably can’t identify with a boy wizard or a hobbit, the idea that fiction doesn’t teach you anything is completely wrong and unfortunately most common. The more appropriate question to ask would be, “What can fiction not teach you?” We read fairy tales to young kids and our parents read them to us which were of course fictional. But the idea behind all the tales was triumph of good vs evil; courage and bravery in the face of adversities and friendship forever. The adult fictional books still have similar themes of bravery, friendship and love. Because a grown up needs to be reminded of these lessons too. As kids we learnt more facts when told in a form of a story, we aren’t very different as adults. Facts are still fun when told in the form of stories.

And the best part about fiction is travelling to all the beautiful places without leaving the comfort of your couch! Have you ever felt the thrill of travelling to the places that you read about in your favorite book; or thrill of knowing that you have been to these places that your favorite author is writing about! I have visited Prague, Ireland, the entire US, Oxford, 16th century London, period of Homer, Kurukshetra, middle-earth and Westeros while sitting in my tiny apartment. Currently I am in 19th century New Zealand at the height of gold rush. And God what a ride it has been!! J

People have weird reactions when I tell them that fantasy, paranormal is my favorite genre along with crime and psychological fiction. Yes, paranormal and fantasy means made-up creatures like vampires, witches, dwarves and elves. Reading fantasy stretches your imagination and creativity, you know it is a made up world, but it is great to escape in the fantasy for a while, where heroes are saving the world. Human brain is very elastic and it needs to be stretched beyond the realms of possibilities other than crammed with facts all the time. As adults we need to read and believe more in magic and fantasies because unlike kids we are already jaded. The idea of a universe beyond our earth was also a fantasy once, but now we know there is this whole unknown world out there. Wouldn’t you like to explore it yourself through your favourite hero rather than just read about it?