So excited Mi! Yesterday we went shopping – nay – scouting for Vidur’s school jacket. (Aside: I can’t believe I still type “virus” first whenI start typing Vidur! I remember how you scolded me when I first told you!) None of the usual suspects had his size. One chap kindly told us he’d get stock after December. Yeah, right – we’d need a woolen jacket in summer. Hmph! So anyway, after the last shop, which was SKP we decided to return home.

En route, I hopped up to the shop at the junction of 10th Cross and Sampige Road and posed the question I’ve been asking them for six months now, whenever we passed them. “Magali kizhangu oorga irukka?” (Do you have magali pickle?)

(By the way, I looked up Wikipedia and magali is called Decalepis – who knew?)

I almost fell off the step when he said yes and handed out one bottle. Feeling my salivary glands working overtime, I paid, took the bottle reverently and moved on, much to the amusement of Sury.

Came home and told Vidur who was anxious to try it out – it would be his first time tasting it. Yes, he liked it. Typically in his style, he first tasted the piece, nodded, then the pickle with rice and approved. I told him that we did not make it like this at home. Ours used to be watery. The pickle I bought was a true pickle steeped in oil.

The taste of that magali took me back decades. I inhaled deeply and felt myself drooling at the thought of savoring the taste. I realized I hadn’t eaten magali for 16 years now, Mi! Imagine!

And with the realization, the memories rushed in! How we used to be roped in to skin the huge bunch of the root, never mind that it left our fingers sore and stained for days before it washed off, gradually. Sometimes I feel bad about remembering the not so pleasant memories but I can’t help it. Who else will I talk to?  Sigh.

smells and memories

So, onward.

Again, today, I sprinted for the bus. Gave me a semi-sprain, what with the chilly weather, those old bones creaking and all that. As soon as I got in, I got a seat today. But as luck would have it, at the next stop, some college girls got in. One of them a very slim girl dressed in black, came and aligned herself against the seat I was in. You know how they wrap themselves around that pole and hang on for dear life. In one of her hands she was holding a couple of large labeled vials -probably from her lab. Looked like a lab thingy anyway. What freaked me out was her constant arm-waving, bringing those vials close to my face. I tried keep myself as far back into the seat as I could, to maintain a distance, but I could only retract so far, limited by the hard back of the seat.

And then it happened.

She raised her arm. I was relieved that her rather bony elbow would no longer knock my head every two seconds (how that drives me crazy!). The relief was short-lived – in fact, barely two seconds before my olfactory senses were assaulted, nay, attacked by a horrible stink. My senses reeled as I involuntarily inhaled and then tried to stop breathing. In the process I just exhaled in a hurry and also tried to turn my head in the opposite direction, towards the fresh air from the window. To no avail. It was like a stink bomb went off and wrapped me in its wake. I could bear it no longer. I just got up and moved to another part of the bus.  Just as I feared, the damn thing had triggered a headache that threatens to sleep with me, Mi.

Errgh. Smells!

I suddenly remembered those nights in the 80’s, catching up with my Zoology record work, listening to Radio Australia playing XTC’s Senses Working Overtime – not that I loved the song, but sometimes one doesn’t have to love the song per se to enjoy the memories that wrap it.

 vidya sury smells