Nosy and Still Nice
What did the right eye say to the left eye? Between us, something smells. 3 odes to the nose that you may not have read before.
1. The Power of Nose Before the Eyes: 27.5+ Million Views
My grandmother from South India never used the word beautiful. Yet, she cradled more newborns on her lap than anybody I knew.
My grand mom was the epitome of an elder- she scooped the babies into her out-stretched arms and her piercing eyes showered tons of love and warmth.
The miracle of tender life has a way of bubbling up the best glow inside us. Yet, she never went into hyperbole. Her best descriptions always started with nose and eyes (she said it best with her own intonation in Tamil, mookum muzhiyum).
That order, nose before the eyes, always puzzled me. Whenever I doodled a face, I started with the eyes –the window to the soul.
I never comprehended the wisdom of my grand mom’s sequence until I watched a TEDx video. The presenter, Graham Shaw, is far from a conventional celebrity. Yet his video has lapped up 27.59+ million views and counting. Why?
Best said in his words, “when people say they can’t draw I think it’s more to do with beliefs rather than talent and ability.” And he went on to bring out the artist inside each of his audience with the words, “starting with the nose.”
While watching the video, I smiled. My grandmom’s wise sequence moved people from their stupor!
2. Smells Ring Bells: How Smell Triggers Memories and Emotions
Among all our senses, I was blown away to learn this:
“ Incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb, which starts inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. Interestingly, visual, auditory (sound), and tactile (touch) information do not pass through these brain areas. This may be why olfaction, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.”
My paternal grandfather died before my third birthday. 20 years later, I was offered a special type of biscuit that my aunt was eating. I smelled it and told her I have had it before and it brings back wonderful feelings. She was puzzled. It was a special type of biscuit for diabetic patients — on the expensive side. I swore I had it before. I would not let it go. I took the box and showed it to my mom. She said the last person who had this biscuit was your grand dad. I do not recall his face (outside pictures) — that smell brought back pleasant memories. That experience stuck with me forever -power of smell
What happens in a stressful meeting?
Let us look at it like an engineer and have fun with it.
Analytically speaking, there are very few pathways to the brain from the outside that can help calm it. Let us explore each one of the senses.
In those trying moments, we do not like what we see, we are pained by what we hear, where we sit is a lifeless chair which does not bring the social touch we yearn for. If we had the chance to taste and chew food that is comfortingly tasty, it has long term collateral damage on health.
Unleashing the sharpest sword of self-defense, words, is a sure-fire safety valve release- timely in the short run, self-inflicting in the long run. Possibly regret was invented as a word, after those moments.
So, what are we left with in these uncomfortable moments? Air — the invisible medium that is all pervasive and free to take in, that too unlimited amount. Nature’s way of giving- enhanced value for us relative to the cost for nature.
Per scientific research, deep breath is a panacea to the mind. It is ours for taking. Yet , we (most of us) forget. That is one of life’s biggest irony. During our moment of truth, why do we not lean in to soak in the air?
Breathe, Just Breathe. Nose has a job.
Nosy, Still Nice.