11/09/2014

THE SMELL OF PAPERS

This has become my instinct now; the first thing I do after tearing open the plastic wrapper of the newly bought book is smelling the fresh pages between the beautiful covers, flipping randomly. Unlike the flowers, papers appear to posses the scent of their own. Perhaps, it’s the smell of letters, words and punctuation.
But today morning, as I looked back into the history of my early relation with books, I could vividly call from the corner of my memory that I loved not the smell of all books. I loathed the smell of certain book! In retrospect, it was a photo magazine of violent images produced from the 1993 revolution; a copy which my father managed to preserve in his collection.

It can be said that my hobby of books collection was endued into me by my father. Inheritance. His own collection consisted of numerous copies of, then, my school annual magazines, letter writing guide books, dictionaries, school version of prayer books, credit account books – if it can also be considered as a kind because father had retained quite a stack of them –, his own memorandum and even my elementary story books. Those he kept available to us. But beside that, he also kept few separate, away from our access. As it wasn’t away from my sight, my curiosity to see what those contained drove me impatient, until I could tolerate it no longer and explored it when the keeper of secret was away from the guarding.

I think it was a punishment for prying into the forbidden collection then. For the following several days, I couldn’t eat properly because each time those images played its round in my mind, I got nauseated.

Those were the images of grotesque pictures of merciless amputations, severed heads, beheaded bodies and bloody scenes. Even the height of the chimeras I could weave weren’t as wild as the violent pictures provided therein. Real scary than a horrific nightmare. The images remained firmly etched up in my brain, though I liked it not, and consequently, I began to perceive even the smell of the pages as those produced from those spilled bloods and split bodies.

I grew weak and was so emaciated that when I spilled the beans of my trespassing to my worried mother, she immediately suggested father to get rid of the cause. And even few medical pamphlets – upon my asking – as it emitted similar odour. He had to give in. Those were burnt.

I see – the lost – now without regret though it was my misconduct to have browsed the forbidden. But some books mean not to be kept. Who would even think that its smell might be that strong so to make some sick? 

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