An (A)fternoon of Nasal Orgy

Don’t get me wrong. This is not going to be an exposition on an ancient art of instant gratification. I am instead allowing you to peek into the world of a crazed bibliophile.

This ‘attachment’ that I speak of can sometimes transcend the mere appreciation of words and find the subject allowing her sense of smell to explore what lies not between the lines but between the pages.

This is what happened on a muggy afternoon…

The discoveries made were startling, sometimes unexplained and only rarely predictable.

~

Don’t you think its only fair that Pearl S. Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’ smelt of rice.

Or that Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Istanbul’ reminded the smeller (if there ever was one) of a land far away, never visited.

But would anyone think that ‘Dog Years’, that chaotically poetic Gunter Grass work that tells of a world gone mad, could smell pleasant.

214993

Or that the two part autobiography of a dictator (Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’) could remind one’s nose of fresh flowers on a spring morning.

(and the irony of it all that I should speak of Grass and Hitler almost in the same breath).

What do you think Franz Kafka’s ‘Diaries’ smelt of? Existential angst? Perhaps that is the best and the only way to describe it.

Diaries of Franz Kafka

And how about Somerset Maugham’s ‘Of Human Bondage’? Well, it smelt sweet, something the author could not have imagined, much less intended.

And what happened when one tried to capture the scent of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’?

Nothing. No fresh flowers, wet earth or English summer. In fact, there was no scent at all!

It was most unusual that the smell from the pages of Hermann Hesse’s ‘Steppenwolf’ took one back to the library in a convent not visited for over fifteen years.

Equally interesting was the discovery that Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’, the unabashed ode to ‘individualism’, actually smells of ashes.

Finally (deciding to leave many others in the wake), it was time to discover what senses Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ would awaken. It most certainly did not remind one of the scent of bitter almonds. Instead, it was an indescribable smell.

One could not relate it to anything…only fitting, for perhaps it smelt of that indescribable feeling…love.

That an afternoon could have been spent thus is proof of the fact that attachment of this nature is only half explored through the eyes and the mind.

There are countless associations waiting to be made by calling into play other senses…

…but it is only possible if you’re inclined enough to disregard modes of ‘normal’ behaviour.

P.S.: In case you haven’t noticed, I’m participating in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Read all about it here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

We begin today with the letter ‘A’ for Afternoon. Stay tuned, in April and beyond.

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4 thoughts on “An (A)fternoon of Nasal Orgy

  1. A friend of mine let me borrow his hard-bound original edition of ‘Lolita’… It smelled of naphthalene balls! Even the “fire of my loins” couldn’t shake the feeling that good books need to be kept safe(pickled), even if it defeats the purpose of the book itself. Lucky for me I do all my reading on a kindle now. Otherwise I guess ‘Crying of Lot 49’ would have smelled of fresh licked stamps, or arguably something else. Its a trade off I have to live with.
    Good beginning btw….

    • Yes they do need to be kept safe. They’re like getting a plant home, well almost. And house pets can ruin both.

      My reading hasn’t been Kindle-d yet. Not half as much fun as holding a bulky hardbound Proust in one hand (with the customary yellow pencil that sleeps inside it) and being jostled around in the Metro.

      And it’s still a dusty library world in my mind.

  2. Well.. Kindle is quite travel-friendly and light.. you can mark text and write annotations on it.. I don’t have any experience with house pets, but I guess they’ll take a sniff and leave it alone… Doesn’t need a pencil and… oh I haven’t watered my kindle yet … but something tell me it’ll survive… but.. suum cuique pulchrum est….

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