Bombay smell!

smell and memorySmelly to smiley.–

Bombay smell” my 2 ½ yr. Old daughter had declared. We were amused then.

We were amused again, when she declared it as we entered a flat that was shut for about a year. The smell was stagnant water and rotting sewer.

but then I realized the there were no good smells, and bad smells, it was just a perception. We are conditioned to believe that flowers smell good. We don’t want to acknowledge decay. Remember the story of the fisher-woman who could not sleep in a jasmine scented room, she needed the smell of her fish basket.

We say that flowers return every spring, but that is a lie. It is true that the world is renewed. It is also true that the renewal comes at a price for even if the flower grows from an ancient vine, the flowers of spring are themselves new to the world untried and untested. The flowers that wilted last year is gone. Petals once fallen are fallen forever. Flowers do not return in spring. Rather they are replaced. It is in this difference between and replaced that the price of renewal is paid. And as it for the spring flowers, so it is for us. Daniel Abraham calls it the price of spring.

There are times when we cross the woods, a whiff of hydrogen sulfide is got, somewhere my mind hears, Indira teacher’s voice, “when the body decomposes there is release of hydrogen sulfide, that gives a foul odor.” But it is not really offensive that it triggers a gag reflex or triggers a migraine. Special in the contemporary world when artificial fragrances rule, there is something very earthy and rooting about the saprophytic odor. Decline or decay is also a form of voluptuousness just like growth. Autumn is just as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.

Have you walked down a hostel? the air stale, again with smells, of sweat, and deodorants mixed, these milestone that one generation has moved on, and the next one is yet to come. That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air,,,another fall, another turned page: there is something in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer. The odor is the dying evidence of a generation that came, lived its joy, sorrow, achieved or failed and moved on. When the window opens and fresh air is let in, the habitat becomes fresh for new energy to come, to face the trails and travails to create new landmarks, and destroy the old. The smell of staleness is at once the end and hope.

“Amma, what are we going to do about this,” brought me back to earth. And we went into the motion of deodorizing the house.
  • Opening the house,
  • Cleaning the vents,
  • Declogging the drains,
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Sweeping and moping the floors,
  • Cleaning the windows,
  • Finally running the clothes we wore during the cleaning in a hot water cycle.
  • Light up the dhoop.

No, this was not the beginning of a new chapter in my life, this was the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended and tossed into the seas. The book is newly opened has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one! thanks for letting me share this,–C.JoyBell.C.







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