"It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all!"
-Alfred Lord Tennyson
Have you ever thought of the properties of love? I mean, by what measures, one can identify a love? Is it a touchable thing? Does it smell? If it smells, does it stink or smells good? Does love have a shape? If so, is it in the same heart shape, depicted in Valentine’s Day greetings cards? Don’t worry! I am not trying to start my post with a regular and often practiced cliché! What I am trying to convey is that I know at least one property of love. Yes! I know the smell of love. Or at least to me, love has a fragrance, and more accurately, love has the smell of Epiphyllum Oxypetalum.
Now, what is this complicated thing? Well...Epiphyllum Oxypetalum is the Botanical name of a flower, popularly known as Nishagandhi (Nisha gandhi – The one that emits fragrance in night). But, let me tell you one thing first! After finding a Nishagandhi flower, smelling it would not give you the fragrance of love. Because, when I discovered the smell of love, I did not know a Nishagandhi flower. I actually mistook another flower with strong fragrance for Nishagandhi flower. So, the smell of love is the smell of a flower which was mistaken by me for Nishagandhi flower! Now clear?
The story behind the discovery of the smell of love is of a few years old. It is connected fully with the girl in My First Love (What? You haven't read it yet? First go and read it and come back!). She used to sing during some occasions in college. All the time I used to sit in the first row in the college auditorium with my friend (the naughty friend in Pretty Littima’s Profession, we reunited in college after that adventurous seventh standard) listening to her voice and watching her movements. Her occasional glances darted at me had made me happy.
Somebody brought to the class a bunch of sweet and strong smelling flowers. Actually it was not of the shape of a flower. It almost looked like a small leaf with a light green shade. I liked its fragrance at once as my teenage days were fully perfumed with love. (No, of course I was not a lover! But love was there in my heart.) I asked the flower’s name to the boy who brought it to the class. He expressed his ignorance about the name of the flower, but someone invented a name, ‘Nishagandhi’. I liked that name, and at once I fixed its name in my mind as Nishagandhi. Only later, I came to know that there was another flower by that name.
Well, on that day, when the girl was singing in the auditorium and I was watching her sitting in the front row, my shirt’s pocket was full of the sweet smelling flowers. The aroma of this flower was so strong that the singing girl’s appearance and the flowers’ fragrance blended together resulting in the formation of a specific image in my mind. Her songs lasted for some minutes and she repeatedly sang the songs in equal intervals. All the time, the flowers were also emitting its strong scent creating in me some passionate and nostalgic effect.
Days had passed and when I was in a sorrowful condition regarding my love interest (those who read My First Love can understand the reason of my sorrow), the flowers with its strong fragrance made me sickened with love and grief. In one such occasion, I went to the isolated auditorium with a pocketful of the ‘Nishagandhi’ flowers. Standing at the front row, I imagined the old days in which she sang standing at the podium and I listened to her song experiencing the smell of the flowers. Standing straight and closing my eyes, I took out some flowers from my pocket to smell them and to check whether the so called ‘time travelling’ was possible. Well, you please don’t doubt me! I had actually tried it.
After so many years, when I matured, when I understood love as an emotion and a basic need, when I forgot the girl almost, when I became more practical, when I learned to laugh at my old silliness, when I stopped assessing others with my virtually perfect intelligence and when I lost all my teenage love mannerisms, what still gives me the fragrance of love is the Nishagandhi flowers.
It is a very long time now since I saw a Nishagandhi flower. Now I can’t recollect the smell of it. But, I hope that the next time when I smell it I could sense the emotion of the same love with its genuine innocence and happiness which are common to the teenage days. Perhaps, this feeling might be the single thing that forces me to believe that love is divine – the fragrance of love!