The Senses

We often do not realise the importance of something until we have lost it. Our senses are so crucial to our being - Sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Their relevance is not in that order. They are all equally important, and together, they complete us. So what happens when you loose a few of these? 

You wake up one morning and you walk into your garden to smell the jasmines that had bloomed the previous night. But you learn that the flowers have lost their fragrance. And then, in a fraction of a second, you realise that the flower is still emanating that scent, but it is you who has lost the ability to experience it. You observe, your favorite Parijata flowers (Harsingar flower / Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) that lie now on the ground, like stars on a night sky; some with their orange tips pointing up. Fearing the worst, you pick one to smell it, but it doesn’t smell any different from the mint leaves in your garden or even coffee. Yes, you can’t smell the coffee either! Everything has suddenly turned odourless. 

You wish to cuddle your cat or your dog but they smell just like those odourless flowers, leaves or coffee powder. That distinctive smell of your child or your partner has suddenly disappeared. It is then that you realise how important a role odour plays in your life, in the attraction that we develop towards people, animal or things. At the dinning table, as you sit to have your breakfast, you do not smell the seasoning in the sambhar anymore. The pungent smell of coriander leaves is missing. As you begin eating, you realise that you have lost yet another sense. The idli, the sambhar and the chutney all taste the same.

You can perhaps feel the salt and sugar a bit but that is about it; No other dominant flavours exit in your life anymore. The pungent smell and taste of garlic and onions are all gone. All those nice smelling Indian spices seem to have lost their potency. You fear that from now on, everyday the food shall taste the same - Tasteless! You don’t feel like eating the food anymore; not because you aren’t hungry, but because there is simply no taste to all those things that are prepared. And eventually, you long for those smells and tastes. 

You crave for the smell and taste of that filter coffee, for those of the spices, for the smell of garlic seasoning in some of your dishes, for the scent of coriander or mint leaves. You realise how important these small things are for you. In fact, you realise that they were never ‘small things’. After 10 days or so (if you are lucky), when you regain your smell and taste, hopefully you are a changed person.

The experience has probably made you cognisant of the fact that your world is made of so many little things, which are all, equally important. I hope you learn to value everything, more than before. You shall be grateful to all that you possess. Hope this experience has changed you as a person and helps you see life with a new perspective; to recognise the importance of this life, the importance of being compassionate towards other humans, animals, plants and trees. Literally and metaphorically, you do not want the smell and taste in your life to disappear one day. While all that was happening, I am sure that you pondered upon larger questions - Are we as humans limited to these 5 senses? What else are we missing?

You can only relate to the odourlessness and tastelessness because you have experienced them before. Therefore, you may wonder, what it might be like to be completely unaware of other senses that might exist out there? As humans we shall never be able to imagine them, let alone discovering them. And that may make you wonder - What all might we be actually missing in this universe because of our limitations as humans? 


  1. Came here after a long, long time. I had missed out on reading your posts for some time. Isn't it strange that our imagination often overpowers our reality of discovering? As it is with senses here, have you ever felt that creeping sense of un-feeling where you just can't pick out any, since all of them are muddled with each other? You don't know if the flower you are smelling appears to be delightful or just oozes out that aura because it smells so good!

    Really nice to get on your blog after so long. Hope you are doing well. Have a great day! :)

    1. Thanks for returning and your thoughtful comment. Yes, I have experienced it recently. :-) I am doing fine thanks.

  2. Very well written blog post. As you said, we realize the importance of something or someone only when we lose it. Some we can regain. But many we cannot.

  3. Nice post! Different sensory feelings is what gives us that complete satisfaction, is it not?

  4. Very well written.
    I used to miss the smell of camphor I keep in my room...

    It literally knocked some sense into me.. that we literally take our senses for granted !


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