The First Faint Line

Picture 157

To crawl in and close the lid

No, I am not thinking of coffins. As yet.

‘”A gut- string classical Spanish Guitar, a sweet, lovely little lady. Although I didn’t know what the hell to do with it. The smell of it. Even now, to open a guitar case, when it’s an old wooden guitar, I could crawl in and close the lid.” (Life, Keith Richards)

I am pondering over smells and memories. Memory is fiction, sayeth Keith Richards. It is also a bitch, someone equally erudite sniggered. I like stories and dogs equally.

Jorge Louis Borges, turning blind, became the librarian of the largest book collection, and laughed at God’s irony. In his work “Fictions”, he wrote about the “Library of Babel”- a synonym for the Universe as a whole and man’s search for meaning. The theme of the blind librarian inspired Umberto Eco to create another library based master piece, with a tongue-in-cheek named, blind character Jorge of Borges, in the beautiful and intriguing novel, ‘Name of the Rose’.

Actually, I meant to elaborate on book smells. How one scent leads onto another, literally and figuratively speaking. Like a hound, like fiction.

Speaking of smells, I love rain smells and book smells. Both are precious.

The rain smell is rare, when the first rain hits the parched earth and the whole magic is liberated from the ground. In the art of perfumery, they have tried to capture this quaint, enchanting smell of the fertile earth. It is called,”Gil”‘, the exotic ittar made  by the mesmerisers of Kannauj. Apparently, the Mughal Emperors wanted to capture the heaven of earth and rain in a crystal glass container- to crawl in and close the lid, perhaps.

And for book smells, who can deny me that basic pleasure?

It comes like an elusive friend; in old newsprint, in new magazine print, in dusty books, in middle aged books, in new books. It is a secret ritual, done shamelessly, with holy devotion: inhaling the rich book scent of words.

Now if I were to capture that one in a bottle, I would become a millionaire.

What shall I call it?

‘Bitch’ or ‘Memory’?

Or maybe plain ‘Fiction’.


And I wrote the first faint line

And I wrote the first faint line,

faint, without substance,pure


pure wisdom

of someone who knows nothing…(Neruda, Poetry)

He says that his ancestors had been worshipping at a temple since centuries.

” Since the Lord cannot speak for himself, I speak as the priest.I do not want any thing for myself,” he adds.

The issue involved a land, a construction, some religious feelings, some work for the devotees, and a lot of people.

“It is against Dharma, ” he asserts, about a point of debate.

” And what is the fundamental rule of Dharma- confrontation or peace?”  I ask, with the foolish wisdom of someone who just trusts the Lord Himself.

He breaks into a sudden smile, the face turns benevolent.

Enroute home, someone offers me fresh cucumber. Some are bitter, some are sweet.

“How come?” I ask, taken aback by the bitterness, and astounded by the clear taste of the others.

“” Due to lack of water, some turn bitter in the fields…something like human beings who live without compassion and love for a long time, madam.”

Neruda would have loved that one.

The Lord who could not speak, spoke to me twice today: through a smile that diffused tensions, and a cucumber that was damn bitter.

And I write the first, faint line of my learnings…