i noticed it first in Chennai. On my way to work with collegues in the minivan, we'd pass a plot of land that was being used for storing garbage. heck, if it was not being used, at least it was being refuse-d :)
anyways, as we passed said plot, most of my co-commuters would whip out small cloth pieces and immediately cover their nostrils with it, evidently to avoid the 'stench'. The 5*5 inches of cotton was as indispensable as when they needed a place to store their mucus they couldn't spit out in public.
I remembered that I used to hate the smell too, but just then I found myself not repulsed by it (recently read two uses of double negatives in two of my fav. authors' books - Chandler and Borges, so I had to...). My persuasions at getting co-comms to participate in any 'experiments' to detect areas in their brains which were stimulated by the smell didn't work.
Turning attention to the other source for experiments, I hypothesised thus: 'my mind is beginning to rot - so it didn't equate rotten = bad'. And then in support without experimentation, i quoted to myself," We rarely accept our demons. Don't we know that Denial is the door to Despair and Doom? ". Then a voice said, "You considered the possibility, dude - so you are better off than most". Wasn't I?
Soon, I found that I was attracted to what was considered as positively un-aesthetic. Even by me! Like in girls, for instance. The most 'ugly' looking girls, I was starting to like. What was going on here - Shallow Hal w/o Mr. Robbins? A friend said - "when one starts liking gadhis(female donkeys), one must marry". I let it pass.
Luckily, I came across this article about wabi-sabi. In short, it's the Japanese funda of finding beauty in transcience or imperfection. Ah-hah, so that's what's been happening to me (another lie for another day). Then I read 'Norwegian Wood' and parts of 'Remains of the Day'. Don't know why the former is considered great. It is good, no doubt. the latter was better but I couldn't finish it.
As this post, unfini.