May 26, 2010

Fragrance of Love

"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!

May 12, 2010

Catching a Copybook Crook

The celebrated sixth standard again. This time it was the English class. And the thick moustached English teacher with his punishment stick in hand was very much obstinate about our regular submission of neatly written copy books on his table before he reaches the class on the second period of all working days. Since he was a fear factor of the students, everyone was keen on not disobeying his demands and if someone fails to bring the updated copybook, even the next classes would go silent hearing the fearful swishing sounds of his flexible stick immediately followed by the moaning sounds of our fellow mates.

This was just like another day. After the first period, the English teacher came to our class and after asking some questions from the last day lessons, he took a new chapter. He first gave us an outline of the story and after telling us to read the entire lesson silently, he started to check the copybooks one by one.

After checking all the available books, he said, “Has everybody submitted the copybooks today?”

A unanimous uproar from the students denoting affirmation was the reply. But the teacher felt that not all the present students had submitted the copybooks. He asked again to confirm the reply. But, what he got was the same answer.

Without trusting the students he asked the class monitor to count the copybooks on his table. He found that there was a difference of five between the number of the copybooks and the number of the present students.

The English teacher became furious. He asked us angrily raising his voice to stand up those who had not brought their copybooks. First, there rose a head, a back bencher, and then three more students followed him in the confession process. He asked all the four to come forward and stand at the corner of the class.

He asked again, “who is the fifth one, come...come...don’t try to fool me!”

But, no one moved.

The teacher did not give up. He asked the monitor to read out loudly the name on each copybook. “When the monitor calls your name, come forward and join with those who are at the corner of the class,” he said to the class.

That verification process was on. The class monitor began to call the names of the students reading the name-slip on each copybook. Students one by one began to walk to the front side of the class to join the corner. The number of students sitting on the benches was shrinking and the number of the students standing at the corner was growing accordingly.

Finally there remained only less than ten students on the benches and it became so soon.

When the monitor called out the spectacled one’s name, there were remaining only four more students on the benches and I was one.

When the monitor read the next name, I decided to surrender as there were no means of escape remaining.

I picked up my bag and pretended as searching it. And I said, “What a surprise, I think I have not brought my copybook!”

“Tom! You!” that was actually a scream from the monitor.

Everybody in the class shared the broken pieces of the monitor’s scream.

The English teacher wondered, “I never guessed it would have ended like this”

He picked up the stick and asked me to extend my palm, I obeyed. Usually, the punishment for these sorts of ‘crimes’ was one beating. I got two.

Not for not submitting the copybook and not for the teacher had some grudge for me, but for not becoming truthful.

Did you guess the suspense?
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