Currently reading: The kite runner (Khaled Hosseini)
I cannot smell the earth even after the rain drenched it deep to the skin. May be the sun set ablaze the fragrance. The generous sky poured water as a reward to the persevering earth which resisted the scorching sun all the day. In my old house I loved watching the stream of water hurrying down the road through my small window of a small room. But I cannot see it from this home which has only lived two years after its erection on the barren land. Three seasons of summer have passed and in between so many things changed. Many buildings tried to touch the sky, many new buildings stamped their existence in our neighborhood. I cannot see the stream because of the location of this home just like an inconspicuous individual in the crowd of Ashan.
There was a huge open area in the neighborhood two years back on which a tall building was erected and it looked like the revered Shiva linga (Lord Shiva’s Penis) over the plain receptacle. Unfortunately this Shiva Linga was not prayed. The area has been all of a sudden congested and not even our beloved Sane’s strolling area has been spared. Now even Sane feels little shy to carry out the natural urges amid so many houses. Who knows if someone is looking from some windows, may be this is the reason he wants to go out for a walk as early as possible before the sun has climbed to the top and the curtains are raised.
I started with a smell but as always I got drifted. So, I wondered where the fragrance vanished, was the rain suppressing it? I have no idea. The heart of Kathmandu is scented with artificial fragrances and most of them stinky. The main city has lost its natural scent long ago. I live in the outskirt just outside the ring road but still very much inside the city. But I smelled something in the day that had been forgotten too. In bathroom I smelled a long forgotten smell, smell of detergent. I had forgotten that once upon a time detergent powders smelled differently, probably the producers did not scent them. In the long run competition grew and to keep breathing in the cut-throat competition innovation became the mantra of survival. This was one of the smells of my childhood and when this scent tickled my nose today, I tried to weave a jingle from scrambled words. I cannot remember those advertisement jingles but I know they were popular and we used to chant them often. Those were the days when the local GOGO washing powders and soap with similar catchy name. They have ceased to exist after being unable to fight the onslaught of international brand. They were the dinosaurs of consumer market not because of the size but because of the fate. There were so many jingles that stuck to our lips and we enchanted them with joy just the way we used to sing the rhymes of our text-books. I looked of GOGO and the other extinct brands have come out but no these were new Indian brands of washing powder which smelled like the washing powders that cleaned my dresses in my childhood. When the washing powder smelled thus I was a child, a child who was always surprised to see the magical colors on the froth and who ran behind the bubbles to hold them. If one observes these bubbles one can see the colors of rainbow superimposed on them. May be these bubbles are the captives of time set free to enjoy the earth or may be these are the alter-ego of time, of dreams, of memories.
There are so many things, behavior, experiences that can turn a man nostalgic and this time the smell played the role. I watch a picture from my childhood where I am grinning in my tricycle while the cloths hang in the clothesline to dry in the sun. Probably they had been rinsed in the same detergent powder but I can’t smell them.