The Smell Of Death!
The Smell Of Death!
-By Nilanjana Sen
Once exposed to a specific odour, we can recognize it months or years later (Engen & Ross, 1973; Rabin
& Cain, 1984)
She inquired like a kid, " Has the candy floss uncle arrived already?"
" No, Shaz, he hasn't- I assure you I will run for it as soon as I spot him."
As Pink Floyd's 'Hey, you' started playing in my earphones, I could see my friend tense up in her window seat and grab both her knees. It wasn't until she started rocking back and forth that I realised what was up.
"He... is here." I managed to steal the words out of her mouth.
I looked around - there were sweaty vendors selling water bottles and bhujia, there were women in sarees wearing their snot covered children around their waists - begging for money; uncles with protruded bellies somehow managing to walk through the narrow alley between the two compartments without rubbing against the scantily clad ladies in halter necks, off-shoulders and denim jackets.
I looked around and I found not one man with evil-green eyes as if hanging out of his sockets, hair as if drooping with honey-like gel and skin that would look better were it been peeled off of his bones. I went out of our compartment as soon as I saw a pink coloured cotton ball as if floating in mid-air.
While making my way through the crowd of 200, I recalled back to the days post their break up when she would tremble in her bed, unable to move, frozen to stillness, upon hearing his name.
Through all of my hazy recollections - the memory of her behaviour around him still remains a mystery to me. In their earlier days, she would sniff him out in a crowd or as if firecrackers would paint her dark world rosy as soon as he would step foot in her vicinity. Those were the days I wished I had what they had until her moments of glee turned into fits of terror - where she would scream upon smelling the cologne he used to wear. Such was her plight after their break up that all I remember of her during that year is that of her rocking herself to lunacy in her rocking chair.
My train of thoughts was halted by a shriek into my ears by the man holding a candy floss in his hands for me. I realized I had almost reached the end. While purchasing the cotton cloud of joy, I looked about to see if I could spot that devil of a man seated in any compartment. I looked around and saw not one man, with eyes the colour of a dead frog, hair that would look better on a scalp scraped out of his head and skin so rotten that ugly rats fed off of it, alive in the compartments until I saw one dead in the papers.