Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fragrances of the House : Smelley to Smiley

There's always something about your home that makes it so special than any place in the world .  Be it the one you grew up in or the one you currently bought ,with all that hard earned money, with those skyrocketing rates of interest on the home loan , you finally feel get to sense the sweet smell of victory , a sense of accomplishment and a settlement of life

We travel to different places everyday . An office , the gym, the nearyby supermarket , an hospital , or on a vacation ,you get to a new city , probably on the hills or the beach side and each has its distinct smell that makes you connected to that place . The brain stores all the events, sights, sounds and even SMELL by creating a distinct link/chain to remember that memory . When the same sight or smell reappears the chain gets activated and the brain remembers the person or place associated with it. Intensity of Smell ranges from no odor , weak ,mild ,distinct ,strong and intolerable . The huge range of air fresheners, perfumes , body sprays, deodrants lie on the extreme borderlines between mild and strong

Surprisingly, our simple abode , has the potential to create very strong linkages and bonds just with the effect of smell , so much so powerful that even a man who has lost his memory due to an accident or trauma has the possibility to recover most of it , just by the smell and odor of the house he lives in . Every good and bad memory buried deep within his brain is rekindled and brought back in flashes as if it never went anywhere in the first place . No amount of money or luxury or medicine can recover wonderful memories than the power of smell

After a brief change in cities due to a work posting for 6 months, I returned back home after a long trip. There was obviously so many things that changed in the house in this span of time ,with new furnitures, rearranging of cots and tables, new wall paints and other minor upgrades . Yet despite all these changes and remodellings, one thing that still strongly lingered on was the smell . It was so distinct that you cant feel or experience it anywhere else .It's as if it was rooted within the deep boundaries of the walls of the house.

The entrance of the house, the Foyer where the newspapers and shoes were kept brought me back to thinking of my old school days, where I had almost four to five pairs of school formal shoes and white canvas shoes which were perennially dirty or wet and in an unusable condition esp on an important day at school. The smell of the old canvas shoes with the thick smell of the black and white polish which was almost partially pungent stayed .The shoes were gone, the polish bottles and their smell were lying scattered in the shoe closet , yet the memory remained

Coming inside to the main hall I could smell the fragrance of those roses and jasmine flowers in the vase near the coffee table and its something thats found a permanent place in the house.  Everyday morning for the past 2 decades and more , the flower lady comes and places a small quantity of flowers (jasmine, roses, and other green,red flowers) around the door knob which then automatically finds its place near the coffee table as a decorative article. Besides the hall is the balcony where the  "mini garden is kept including tulsis,money plants and other small flower pots .

The combined smell of these flowers reminded of those childhood days where the neighboring kids used to sit beside the hall and balcony and water those plants and watch those flowers bloom the next day
The associated childhood memory could be a small one,  but I believe on a larger perspective it plays a crucial part in shaping the person whom you are and what you choose to be

Besides the hall and the garden balcony , the most striking and extremely addictive smell came from the only place I used to frequent every now and then  :  The Kitchen . I guess the amount of memories associated with the kitchen can never be equivalent to almost any place in the house . The aromatic smells of the delicious dishes being cooked right from the strong coffee powers to the rice in the pressure cooker to the hot steaming sambar in the stove induces a strong reaction even in the taste buds , if not the different food parties arranged together with friends.
The number of times you walked into your house feeling so hungry ,and seeing whats available and then looking up to see one of your most favourite dishes right in front of you being cooked. That moment of imagery which you can never forget in your life. Definitely a "Ratatouille moment"

 Last of all is the bedroom where the sweet smell of AmbiPur Air Freshner lingers right through the night and even during hot summer days maintaining a peaceful and calm atmosphere not just in the bedroom but also in your inner state of mind

The fragrance and the long lasting freshness somehow makes you feel , that the air is lighter and much cooler than what it seems to be with just a whiff of this air freshner . I could only remember those longggggg blissful hours of sleep with no record of time and day ,without disturbances as the AmbiPur Air Freshner begins to weave into my mind creating happiness and  wonderful dreams
Do Check out Ambi Pur Air Freshners at their FB Page  : www.facebook.com/AmbiPurIndia 

Monday, September 09, 2013

A stranger than fiction Holiday

They say, your dream vacation exists and pretty much stays only within your dreams, quite literally .Those several pages of your imagination ,written in your diaries, to accomplish that adventure and somehow. at all costs one day experience that holiday you always wanted through your childhood and pretty much even now can finally come true .

What else is there to life but not to enjoy one's wealth , visit new places and experience the never before thrills that you see in televisions and movies. Why restrict to domestic tours when the world is open at your doorstep to explore,esp when several travel companies have sprung up to aid travelers in safely exploring these unknown destinations

Yatra.com , a premier travel and holiday planner company offers some exciting destinations across the world including the United States , Carribean Islands, UK,Italy,Brazil,China,Asia Pacific countries and across the vast seas all the way upto Australia & New Zealand. These holiday packages come at some unbeatable prices making it affordable even for the occasional traveller. The prices comes to only a mere 25 % of the total trip cost,if planned oneself from flight fares to hotel bookings and sight seeings ,along with breakfast,tour guides and entry tickets to destinations and coach transfers (This fact comes from a first hand experience after travelling to a few Asian countries by myself without any package)

Given the thought of such a massive options available for a world tour package, i began to think aloud on which destination i can think of , that could be a cliched "once in a lifetime" experience that probably includes thrilling adventures , pristine beaches, awesome mountain valleys, trying out different international cuisines and much more

After much deliberation and hard to choose between Italy, Spain , UK and US , i finally choose the latter. The United States of America, one of the the most sought after destinations in the world , be it  for education or settling down or for a vacation , its one country that you can never afford to miss in your lifetime

The US is predominantly divided into the West Coast and the East Coast . The West Coast is mostly made up of the Silicon valleys and all computer giants based out of there , alongside the extremely beautiful tourist destination spots that include the world famous cities of Las Vegas ,San Francisco, Los Angeles etc
The East Coast  is the financial and the educational hub of the country esp around the parts of New York and Washington D.C that houses all the world's biggest financial companies around Wall Street and the most prestigious institutions including Harvard,Cambridge and other Ivy League colleges

Incidentally Yatra.com offers a major tour alongside the West Coast that includes San Francisco,San Diego,Las Vegas , Disney Land & The Grand Canyon .I'd probably call this a stranger than fiction Holiday tour . Having not visited the country before , and seen only in sitcoms and movies its always been a top priority in my Bucket List.

San Francisco would be my first checkpoint with its largely popular Indian settlement and a plethora of Indian restaurants . Home to the Silicon valley, this magnificent city plays hosts to several IT Giants including Google,Facebook,HP,Oracle and several other companies .The trip would begin with a visit of this silicon valley area and get absorbed in some of the beauty of some of the geniuses of our life time .

This would be followed by a drive down an engineering marvel of a bridge , the Bay Area "Golden Bridge" which appears as a jewel in the night and additionally cover the rest of the city's tourist spots . I googled the pictures and found one spectacular image of the same
(Source of image : getintravel.com)

The San Francisco tour comes to an end just to be followed by the epic , Las Vegas Tour .The city of Casinos, Las Vegas is one of the most prominent destinations to some of the wealthiest people in the world with its innumerable casinos, star hotels, a never ending nightlife , awesome architectures and some spectacular mountainous spots.

Be it the music festivals on the streets, Rock concerts in star hotels ,or the musical fountains near the Bellagio, or a night of gambling is upon us to decide on what should constitute an epic night . Whatever you have witnessed in the most popular "Hangover" movie, you can relive those moments , and who knows, it could be more "legen"-"dary" than you would have thought

Just when you thought this trip cannot be more awesome than you would have ever imagined, the following day would lead you to the massive Grand Canyons. It is the largest and one of the deepest canyons in the world. More than anything, this is something that you cant witness anywhere else . After being immersed in the beauty of this deep valley ,we'd take a Las Vegas Night Flight , a helicopter ride over the illuminated Vegas city

The last 3 legs of the amazing "Yatra" journey consists of three most popular spots in the history of Cinema
Beverly Hills, Universal Studios & Disneyland.  Beverly Hills, also popularly known as "Hollywood" is home to  the finest movie production companies in the world, including MGM,Warner Bros, Walt Disney etc. 
The rows of movie sets, seeing top movie actors live in shooting can be an unforgettable experience any movie buff. I being a huge crazy fan of international movies and sitcoms, may just go crazy and probably never feel like coming out of the sets after seeing these mammoth sets and quality cinema at its best

The Beverly Hills driveway also being one of the most expensive real estate areas and home to major film stars is also a major clickworthy experience. I'd probably lose track of time and may relish every second of this tour

The West Coast trip heads on to 2 of the most popular theme parks in the world , Disneyland & Universal Studios. The place where the reality is stranger than fiction ,where dreams comes to life in front of our eyes, where illusions bamboozle us with death defying tricks and rides than can scare the world out of us
These 2 are places that brings out the kid in us and relive our childhood memories and actually play them out.
Forget who you are for the day and immerse yourself in the DisneyLand experience .

On similar lines is the Universal Studios experience, where you can visualise how they made some record breaking multi oscar winning movies like Titanic, Jurassic Park, the Mummy, Jaws etc. I was also told that this Universal studio has "experience rides" like "Terminator 3D" ride, the Jurassic Park dinosaur ride and even a Simpsons special ride

I guess all wonderful things come to an end and so is this trip where you head back to India, but the Yatra.com tour ensures that it ends only in reality , and not in your dreams and imaginations where the experiences stay on Forever

These tour packages like the one described above sell out in minutes, if not seconds given their unbeatable fares offered , so go ahead and book yourself not just a vacation but an experience at www.yatra.com