Saturday, April 2, 2016

Expanding the Aalayam repertoire: Sights, Sounds and Smells of a Place Called Home!

It’s been nearly nine years since we packed our bags and flew over the Indian Ocean down to the southern hemisphere to sunny Australia, now our home (away from home!). Over the years, we’ve created our own little comfort zone around us- a wonderful mix of the Aussie way of things and our very own Indian values and traditions. Nevertheless, the home we grew up in always stays very close to our hearts, like that first love. And there are certain things that always, always make me feel totally at home, take me back to the familiar warmth and comfort of my country. I think you would agree and nod knowingly at my pick of ‘Five Things that Instantly Take Me Home’. All I need to do is close my eyes J

1.     The Quintessential Pressure Cooker

“Shhhhhhhhhhh!” says the pressure cooker in my kitchen almost every morning and late evening, almost as if calming me down, bringing back memories of Amma’s mildly spiced sambar and soft fluffy rice. And it’s kind of incomplete without the stacking stainless steel pans which reassure me that they will take care of the dal and the rice and the vegetables, all at once! One of the many familiar sounds from the kitchens of India.

2.     Filter Coffee

Growing up in a traditional Kannada household, my mornings always had a hint of fresh coffee wafting through the air as I went on with the business of properly waking up J And even now, after all these years, as the kettle boils and I pour hot water into the coffee filter over a spoonful (and more) of ground coffee, my mind instantly goes all the way back home. It’s almost a ritual, as if to say “I hereby declare that this morning has begun!” With the latest addition of the traditional ‘davara-tumbler’, the very first sip of strong frothy filter kaapi keeps our Indian homes snug in our hearts.

3.     Indian Bedsheets

In a land of fitted sheets and flat sheets and doonas and pillow cases, my beloved ‘bedsheets’ and ‘pillow covers’ from India haven’t lost their place. Yes, those fitted sheets are a boon, like really! I mean, who wouldn’t like a sheet that stays put and doesn’t jiggle and shimmy and find a way towards the middle of the bed? But let’s face it, as fitted as they may be, they’re a tad too boring and plain for me. Maybe that’s why the patterns and colors and the little flowers so daintily embroidered on the bedsheets from India make me smile! Make that freshly laundered, sweet smelling, Bombay Dyeing bedsheets and I’m like a little girl running in a meadow, grazing my hands across flowering plants, soft breeze in my loose hair with the sun lending an angelic glow! Yeah! I go cuckoo for clean, fresh, crisp sheets!

4.     Nighty, Nightie Night!

I’m a plain Jane when it comes to bed time. No satin PJs for me, no siree! Don’t judge me now, but you know what I want to get into after a really, really, long, tiring day? The ever forgiving and ever comforting Indian nightie! When I slip that soft cotton, longish, flowy thing on, trust me, I (almost) attain nirvana! No, seriously ladies, what better to remind us of our mums, and aunties and pretty much all of our favorite women back home? It’s like they’re literally wrapping their arms around us and giving us a warm reassuring hug!

5.     Agarbathi

Sometimes, when I want to find my inner calm (or when the house smells kind of damp), all I need to do is light an agarbathi and a calming feeling pervades. It takes me back to the beautiful temples of India, brings back memories of my father doing the sandhyavandana (evening salutations) and my mother reciting prayers in the early evening. Such a simple thing, a slender stick wrapped in incense, but it has the ability to merge my Indian home and my Aussie home ever so subtly!

So, there you have it! Five of my favorite things that remind me of the home I grew up in. 

What are some of the quaint little things that remind you of your home? Share them here with us and take us back home with you!

Lots of love,

Here's more about me:

Typical Bengalooru Girl, with familial roots in Australia! Blogger, Mom and Artist! You may remember me from my guest posts in Aalayam! (


  1. Hi Divya and Aalayam,
    This is a very nice post! It is amazing how little things can take you back in time and space.
    The pressure cooker and the aroma of dal or rice never fails to take me back all the way to Bangalore. Listening to the Suprabatham also has this special time travel effect.
    Another thing that does the trick is a video or a sound bit that has a koyal bird call in it. Bam! You are in green Bangalore on a Sunday evening! (Try this -

    1. @The Grey Area: So true! Thank you for sharing your thoughts of home. Although, I wonder if Bengaluru is still as green as it once was :(

  2. Lovely post Divs!! Keep going:)

  3. Aalayam/Divya, I can totally relate to this post. I have/do most of these, PLUS, the copper drinkware, Thatte Idli stand, Ghee serving cup and mortar and pestle :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by Akhila!
      Yes, of course, the idli stand!

  4. Beautiful post, can relate to each one of them,the agarbathi , the pressure cooker & the davra filter coffee go straight to my heart. Waking up to MS singing the Suprapatham,making ghee at home which infuses every room with it's giddy satisfying aroma,temple bells are a few of my favorites.Thank you, for sharing Divya :) Do visit my blog "" when you find time, it's all about the same feeling stretched across the vast sea's :)

    1. Thank you! stopping by at your blog right now :-)

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