Turns out, I smell my dreams too

my first and last sidney sheldon book
I had this habit once, a habit of writing down what I saw in my dreams and just trying to decipher what they meant. The idea was to collect enough data to link what state of mind I slept in and what I saw while I was asleep. A bit geeky thing to do, but at that time, I was my best friend and the only way I seem to keep my sanity from what was happening around me was to keep a diary. A diary where I wrote about what I did that day and what dreams I had seen that morning. 

What I had found was pretty straight forward. You see what you perceive around you. If I saw my dead dog in my dreams, it was probable that I saw a picture of a baby me and the dog playing a pool of water sometime in that past week. Or if saw MoMos, which happened quite often, I would have had it at some point before I saw it in my dreams; in completely different scenario.

Basically, what I saw in my dreams was just a blurred, cocktail-y hyper mix of unrelated objects, people and stories being intertwined into an absurd tale that was refreshingly new. 

That is, if I remembered. I am very visual but for most part, dreams alluded me. They escaped at a pace I couldn't keep up. By the time I sat down and got hold of my Rs.10 fountain pen, I would be staring at an empty piece of paper.

One thing I do remember though, is that I had never been able to smell something that was in my dreams. Until today that is. It's mindbogglingly vivid.

The whole story takes place at my Mama Ghar (Uncle's Home) where I see myself walking up to the kitchen. My cousin, who is now studying medicals in China, is boiling something. She stirs and looks back and finds me standing there. I am barefooted but I don't feel the cold marble floor.

Ke garira? (what you doing?) I ask her, as she keeps stirring what looks like a soup full of green leaves. 

Boiling hops she says. 
Boiling hops?

Yeah, she replies.

But..but you can't buy hops in Nepal? I say, confused.
Of course, you can. It's in Asan.
Really? I give her an skeptical eye

I narrow it down to the specifics.
What hops? I ask
Centennial! She says

Just then I lean down and take a whisk of the vapor that was coming out. 

That's when I realized, it wasn't hops. The distinct smell reminded me of Korean soup, the Miyeokgook, the seaweed soup that you have here during breakfast or on your birthdays.

*Suddenly, I sit down at a bar, and things get real blurry*

Turns out, there are few people out there who do have sensory related, olfactory triggered dreams. BBC news has this story [HERE] where it quotes researches and famous psychologists to find out if people do really smell their dreams and what causes them. Interesting read all the same.

For me, I can relate all of the things I saw to what I had been seeing (or doing) last week or so. I had seen a picture of my uncle or grandpa who both live at place I saw myself in. My gf cooked me some delicious Miyeokgook that other time. I had thought about how my sis was doing back in china . And I was brewing beer last week. Not with centennial but had talked about it for sure.

Well you could ask, these are fine. These are all visual based. What about the smell?

Hops are probably one of those herbs which blows you out of your seat just by the aroma that it releases. It's really really strong, and I guess the portion that processes smell, which is different to visual, registers a strong link towards that particular aroma.

In case of Miyeokgook, it's a different story because the first time I ever took a nice, full lung-blown smell of that soup, I nearly puked. Where I grew up, sea and weed don't come together. Although I am much used to it now, I remember the smell to be pungent, repulsive and I seem to have registered a sense of utter disgust in my brain.

By pure accident, the aroma of hops and the miyeokgook were imprinted on me in such a way that visual in the dream stimulated the part of my brain that works on the smell. The contrast of what I expected and what I saw as I leaned down to look at the soup and smell it, must have triggered that connection making me think that I am smelling miyeokgook instead.

Either that, or it's me smelling my own miyeokgook ridden, undigested gas.


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