Monday, August 26, 2013

Fish and an Indian NRI..

Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and
all the years you have lived - Hellen Keller

Kerala is known as God's own country. And the people who have visited this beautiful state will vouch for it. The greenery and back-waters are all desktop wallpaper material. Kerala will easily feature in top 10 best places in India to visit. Kerala has one of the best literacy rate in the country. Kerala is known for its coconut oil, Banana chips, Jack fruit chips, halwa etc. And the fish curry in Kerala is second to none.

Unfortunately, the Fishes in Kerala doesn't think so. And for obvious reasons!

Image: Kind courtesy
Smelly moment ...

Few years ago, I had been to Kerala for a vacation. When a Keralite goes to Kerala for a vacation, its usually to meet relatives. When a non-Keralite plans such a trip, it is usually to visit tourist places. So, being a Keralite, as part of my itinerary, I went to one of my relatives' place. The thing about meeting relatives (especially those who live near the sea-shore) is that you will always, and I mean - always - find fish as part of the staple diet. Fish is part of Kerala's staple diet, but its even more significant if you stay near the shores.

As we were sitting and discussing the life and times in Kerala, a peculiar aroma filled the room. It was the output of a frying Fish. Apart from some hardcore fishitarians, most others would have hated the smell. I know some who will even puke - no kidding! It was as if the aroma waves from the Fish fry had decided to go all around the house and sometimes even the neighborhood to spread the word. Unlike a burning candle that lightens up the room by sacrificing itself, Fish fry had gone a step ahead. By sacrificing itself, it spreads what it thinks as refreshing aroma to not only the kitchen, but the surrounding rooms and in some cases even the neighboring homes!

As guests, we were completely encapsulated - right as well as wrong sense - by the fishy aroma. Wonder where Oxygen went? Anyways, the only part of my body that was full of optimism by the sudden burst of fishy aroma was my taste buds! They were about to have a feast of their life.

... changed to Smiley moment!

Before having lunch, we were informed that another family will be visiting my relatives and then we'll have lunch together. They were settled in one of the Gulf countries, the second best place for Malayalis. Now Keralites coming from Gulf countries are recognized using two parameters - clothes and perfume. Their clothes looks rich and feels richer. Their perfume has the ability to light up their journey and momentarily allow the bystander breathe in aromatic oxygen - one of a kind not commonly found in Kerala. Even their car gives away the feeling that it has just had an aromatic bath / spa / car wash.

Their visit to my relatives place that afternoon seemed to be a welcome relief to everyone concerned. Why? The smell of the perfume immediately got mixed with the Fish fry smell and the resultant output was a mix of both the smells but had a dominating impact of the perfume. It was as if we "escaped into freshness". I could feel the presence of Oxygen again! That moment, my dear friends, became a smiley moment.

Ambiance Purified!

Memories, imagination, old sentiments and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel - Oliver Wendell Holmes 

PS: This post is published for the love of fish and is part of an Indiblogger "Smelly to Smiley!" contest in partnership with Ambi Pur.


  1. Only those who love fish will like that smell. I liked the way you have written, ' changed to Smiley moment!' and 'Ambiance Purified.'

    Good luck, Binu!

  2. Nice way of associating Ambi Pur with purifying the smell of fish...

    All the best for the contest...

  3. hehe.. loved this one. After studying in Pune for three years, coming back home to the smell of fried fish in my coastal Malabar hometown was actually heaven for me :D

    1. Ohh yes. The aroma of fried fish! :D. We keralites love it..

  4. hahaa awesome post for the contest loved it :D

    But Trust me I am the one who pukes!!! I just cant handle :(

    1. Hmm.. I can obviously understand Ramya.. Many of my friends feel the same way too..

  5. Hey. This was such a nice post! I remember enjoying the smell of fish being fried when my friends used to close their noses and ask me to walk faster :-D Good luck with the contest :-)

  6. A tale of Great Escape, this was an interesting toss from smelly to smiley. Especially loved how you subtly included the 'Ambi Pur' and a few other keywords in the post. All the very best for the contest, Binu :)

    1. It could be the tale of great escape.. or the best of both worlds too Arti :)

  7. this post makes me nostalgiac ....reminds me of my days at kazakuttam and 'ashok's inn'..I didn't explore much but I loved the kerela of the villages..bananas hanging from almost all shops..lungi clad guys...that vikram sarabhia space centre board(I'll surely come back to visit that).....those days of tvm central's only hindi movie theatre's only hindi movie screening..that pothy's mall and shanga-munga and kovalam beaches....everything comes alive..I'll return one day for sure but I'll be armed with Malayalam this time!..'po' is the equivalent for 'go' I guess?..and something 'nannee or nittie' for 'thank you'..

    1. That's some wonderful experiences you had in Kerala Rohit.. And yes, 'po' is the South equivalent of 'go'.. and 'nannee' is the Malayalam equivalent for 'thanks'.. :)


All yours..

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