Friday, February 20, 2009

Of scents and memories

So I was reading this book about emotional intelligence, which mentioned that certain traumatic events become imprinted on our cells, and if we ever come across a trigger that resembles that disturbing event we get the same flood of physiological and emotional responses.

Fortunately I have yet to come across such traumatic situations, but I can vouch for the fact that certain scents can trigger specific memories. It happens to me all the time.

Mostly, these scents comprise perfumes I own, but of course there are some others too.

For instance, the smell of Johnson's Baby Bedtime Bath (the one with the purple bottle) floods me with memories of my National Service days. It was the only shower gel I used throughout the 3 months I spent there. I think about the days where I have to lug a huge pail, filled with water from the common kolam, into one of the toilets with cement floors and walls to bath. The carrying of the super heavy pail probably wreaked havoc on my spine and arm muscles, but I didn't much like to bath at the kolam. Open as I was, bathing in a group still made me feel a little uncomfortable. There was another time, as I rushed to the bathroom as soon as I came back from a sweaty kawat session to shower, I heard a voice blast over the loudspeakers telling, demanding us, to berkumpul at the common hall AT ONCE! If not, the trainers will personally come to drag us out! (*repeat many times, with increasing intensity and volume. I never knew why military people like to shout so much.*) And I was in my birthday suit, all wet and soapy! Only God knows how flustered and nervous I was as I rushed to finish showering and rush to the hall at once. And I was just in time, for the trainers bolted and locked all the doors to the hall, trapping us inside. I learnt afterwards that they wanted to check all our bags in our absence as someone had lost something, I can't remember what it was. To think how many brain cells were killed when I zoomed at top speed from the bathhouse to my tent (to dump my clothes and bath things) and then to the hall. Sweat!

The Body Shop's Oceanus reminds me of my Hong Kong trip, it was the only fragrance I wore throughout the whole journey. When I put it on again, I am transported back to those lovely days, especially of the day when I stood at the Victoria harbour gawking at the Symphony of Lights. I remember the cool breeze that blew after the misty rain, and how the seats were wet and I had to stand throughout the concert. And I remember too that it was the first day of my period, so it was difficult for me to stand for such a long time. I'm sometimes surprised at how minutely I am able to remember events!...but sadly not drug names or their mechanisms.

Another fragrance from The Body Shop is the Beleaf scent, which I wore all through my INTEC days. I see myself in my punggung-tutup-ing jacket and jeans, and relive the moments when we had to rush and pek for the bus which came oh-so-infrequently. Those days brought with them their fair share of memories, the friends I had, and the seemingly difficult days where study made up the bulk of our days and everything else was sidelined. I remember the happy days more vividly than the rest, like how much fun we had preparing for the Merchant of Venice play, how I got UTI right before my badminton match (and thought it was appendicitis, silly me), and of course the friendships sealed in the boundaries of that dreaded place we called home for 2 full years.

My BCBG Nature fragrance makes me think of exams, because that is the only scent I wear to those horrid events. I think of it as my 'lucky' scent, since I won that fragrance in a magazine contest. Somehow it gives me the confidence I need to face my exams, and puts me in the mood to concentrate on my papers. At one point I wore it to school to increase my chances of meeting my crush, and somehow I do always seem to bump into him when I wear that scent! =P Whether it really makes me luckier, I don't's probably a placebo effect, but hey if it works, why not?


And that is enough reminiscing for a day.

I know I have committed a major criminal offence by failing to update for 3 weeks. 3 weeks! Oh dear. If I were getting revenues from my blog, I would probably have people exploding at me and threatening me to f***ing blog or else they'll chop off my head or something. Actually I'm somewhat confused..and a little flattered, truth be told. Even with my extremely long blogging hiatus, there're still more than a hundred good souls trawling this site each week. Which makes me feel guilty for disappointing all of you, all this while. I have somehow fallen into a comfortable lull of not writing, even though my days aren't really that busy. I suppose the lack of blog-able topics is partly to blame, nothing really interesting happens in my life nowadays. But I'm not complaining. It feels good to wake up and slowly unfurl myself from the bedsheets, rest assured that nothing out of the ordinary is going to happen today. To me, it's a luxury to have everything go according to plan, and it feels good. It gives me a sense of security.

Actually I have a few plots for short stories in my head these past few weeks, but I just have been too lazy to put these plots to print. And the other (ambitious) side of me is telling me to not blog these stories cos I won't be able to publish them in my (currently fictitious) novel in the future. Yeah right, as if anyone would want to pay money to buy stories that came out of my brain! The very idea seems impossible...but I have been toying with the idea of writing my own book ever since I was 18, I even started a novel during my 8 months' break but somehow never got beyond the first chapter. Proof of my extreme indolence when no deadlines are due!

Ooh. That's a lot of words for a post. I shall call it a day.

Good luck to all my batchmates for next monday's test!

Till then,