I m forcing myself to type something right now. So many posts have already been blown away by the fast wind that crashes on my window sill as the bus runs across the city. I just want to write something which is not a term paper or an assignment or a draft report or a mail or an elementary math question!
The consciously least used sense is perhaps that of smell. Or touch. For most of us. Who do not live in Mumbai. Or who mostly/only travel in taxi in Mumbai. For the remaining set, touch and smell are just as often used as any other senses. Thats true. The touch and smell senses used or mis-used while commuting for mere 3 hours of the day are enough to last the entire day.
First 10 days in Mumbai, I started recognizing the different stinks at different locations which my bus would cross at different time intervals. For instance at 6:30 I would reach Vashi Creek which would smell of dirty stagnant water. At 6:40 I would reach Mankrund which would stink of different kind of chemicals. At 8:30 in morning I would reach another place, I don’t know name of which, that would stink of human shit. Like this the places-times and smells are inter related. (Of course, only on the days I catch the bus on time – which is a subset of – only on the days when the bus comes on time!)
Next few days I started smelling people. Of course, I am living in a coastal area, so people would smell of fish. But, there are other kinds of smells as well. Fart. Which distinguishes according to what the person might have had in dinner last day. Perspiration. You live in Mumbai in April and May and you would smell the same. Or else you would smell of some deodorant. You would definitely not smell like you. Alcohol. Who gets drunk at 9 am in morning??!! Oh I m such a naive! This guy is drunk from last night! Like wasted IITians!
Touch. This is especially an irony in my life because its not even 2 months since I have returned from the US. Where you can’t touch a child as an expression of love or care unless it is a culturally appropriate touch. Now, when I sit on an aisle seat on the bus there are penises touching my shoulder most of the time. The bus is designed in such a way that the crouch area of a human body of average height would reach the seat. Of course the bus is crowded and over-crowded. There is no space to stand. So what do you say to the guy whose crouch is touching/rubbing your shoulder? As I learnt, you move as much as possible so that you are not touched. Though this is not always possible. Now if crouch area is right in front of you, so would be the butt area as well. Its not much pleasant either. When you are standing you squeeze through two people. So basically now my personal circle of space has reduced to 3 cms radius. Living in the most densely populated city in the world and if this doesn’t happen to you – its a waste. Its like you go to Korea and never taste a snake!