Like billions of people all over the world, I start the day with a mug of coffee and the newspaper. Today, I huddle over the news paper spread on the dining table, too sleepy and lazy to get my 'pick me up after a late night' cup of coffee. What do I see? Some Aussie researchers have discovered a link between a declining sense of smell and disorders such as schizofrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder... 81 young subjects at risk of becoming psychotic were shown a series of 40 cards, whose smell they had to match up with a list of four odours such as coffee, roses, oranges and petrol. The researchers found those who later went on to develop a mental illness had difficulty identifying more than half the odours. Oh...my! This triggers an alarm bell somewhere in me. Time to start sniffing out the truth of the matter... rather, my mental condition! I recall with growing alarm that last week while RP signed his petrol card at the filling station, I didn't sniff in petorl smell ecstatically, as I used to all these years...and, I don't salivate on smelling coffee in the mornings as I used to. Is it because I am half asleep early in the mornings these days and my sense of smell is still asleep till the rest of me wakes fully up? Or is it that my frontal lobe is getting affected? Ahh! c'mon, my good sense tells me. Those 81 chumps must have gone bonkers smelling 40 cards. I mean, you go to the perfume counter and try out 5 or 6 brands and you don't even know which is what, do you? Any average person -- you mean, 'average' like me? yes... like 'you' -- would be confused. Nothing wrong with your frontal lobe. Assured by my common sense that I am not losing my marbles, I scan the news item again. An abnormal sense of smell may indicate problems in this thinking area of of the brain, says the researcher. Sound of alarm bell again! Recently, I've started enjoying the smell of boiled cabbage, stopped being nauseous when my neighbours fry fish and do not react publically to BO and MO... Am I turning schizofrenic? Or is it the onset of Obsessive compulsive disorder? Is it? Is it? Is it? Sniff...sniff... sniff... do I smell a rat? Am I wacko? Loco? Getting unhinged? Going bonkers? Don't be delirious, my good sense prevails upon me a shade too roughly. Last week you were synaesthetic, remember? Don't get carried away by what you read early in the morning. Yes, yes, you are right. I brew myself a cup of nescafe and take a whiff of it. Mmmmmm! Smells like... coffee! Divine! All's well that ends well.