Thursday, 20 August 2015

10 things that smell or taste of India that you can carry in your pocket

On August 15th India celebrated its 69th Independence day. Amidst the patriotic slogans, the flag flying high, the national anthem becoming the song of the day, I wondered if I were to leave India, what would be that one thing I would carry along to remind me of my country. Something small that can fit my pocket, whose smell or taste I associate with my homeland. So, I went around asking and the suggestions compiled formed this list.

Cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf
Spices! Spices of India is what had Christopher Columbus searching for this peninsula, which led India to start trading with other nations. It is our gold and our treasure, the music in our food.


This is a spice too but one that deserves its own bullet point.  The world’s most expensive spice, saffron is revered in India. 

Vicks, Amrutanjan,Zandubomb


So, Vicks’ existence isn’t confined India, but it is also indisputably an integral part of nearly every household. For running nose to headaches, Vicks has worked its miracles. No traveler leaves his home without a tub of this in his pocket.  The same goes for Vick’s contenders Amrutanjan and Zandubomb.

Coconut oil

Hair shower isn’t complete without having massaged it with coconut oil the day before. Apart from cooking, coconut oil has multiple uses in the Indian household. It is the substitute for lip balms on parched lips, lotion for skin, burns etc. Coconut oil is our olive oil.

Is a bride complete without hands decorated by henna?
Also called Mehndi, made from crushed leaves of the henna plant it is a color leaving substance used for temporary body art. For a mehndi lover, one does not simply wait for festivals.


Paan-betel leaves prepared with areca nut and some other stuff and used as a stimulant.
Because of its strange taste (at least for me) and adverse effects, paan isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a popular cultural activity (the paan chewing).


The smell of jasmine buds haunts Indians. Festooning women’s hair or garlanding god idols, jasmine in Hindu households go a long way. 


India is famous for its sandalwood trees, and its fragrance has been channeled into pastes, creams, lotions, face powder, soaps, garlands made with the bark’s shavings, sandal wood dolls, perfumes, incense sticks, and sandalwood oil.  I think that pretty much shows how much in love we are with this tree.


People all over the world use turmeric in cooking, but an Indian household worships the existence of turmeric. As an antiseptic, it is used for wounds, skin etc., as a spice+ health benefit it finds its way into all (like, 97%) of our food. As an Hindu item, it is used for worshiping the gods. Turmeric embraces India with its distinct smell, taste and color.


A red colored substance, it is used excessively by some Indians as sindoor.


Almost impossible to carry it in a pocket but nothing reminds one of India as pani puri does. A no-cook snack loved by almost everyone, this would easily be the favorite thing to have on a rainy day. Or just any hour, really.

Our roots travel with us, in its smell or taste. What is the one thing that reminds you of your homeland?

Note:images do not belong to me


  1. What a fun post and those flowers are gorgeous!

  2. I love jasmines so much, their scent is wonderful. And coconut oil is incredibly useful, I just use it for so many things!! <3 This post is very original, I had fun reading it, thanks for sharing! ^-^

    Lipstick and Mocha

    1. Jasmine have a lovely fragrance, remind me of rainy days and fresh air! Uses for coconut oil is endless!
      Thank you! <3

  3. Such a lovely post! I have never been to India before, but I am definitely going to be checking out all those spices and smells because some of them just sound wonderful <3 I love it.

    1. Thanks Olivia! You should, some of them are bound to surprise you with their smell or taste!

  4. Now this is what I call creative and sensible write up!! Loved it how detailed the post was and still very interesting!! :)

  5. I love the smell of Indian spices and jasmine! I wish I knew what panipuri was though :)

    Bella Pummarola

    1. Hey Anett! There is nothing to not love about panipuri! I think you would like it :)

  6. I love everything that you mentioned in this post. And every item reminds me of a story from my life. I agree with Vicks vaporub(I always carry one around)
    I loved it!

    1. Nice to see you on my blog :) And thank you! Agreed, Vicks is an essential for us.

  7. I really love sandlewood...It's in the majority of my perfumes and scents that I burn around the house. What a lovely post!

    1. Sandalwood incense sticks is a great perfume to burn around the house! It has a pleasant smell!

  8. I really love sandlewood...It's in the majority of my perfumes and scents that I burn around the house. What a lovely post!

  9. Great post, I can almost smell some of them just seeing

  10. Awesome post. Saffron and coconut oil are the best!

  11. Congrats you individuals are doing with this blog


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