smell of books.

I was sitting in the last row of class, something about noise pollution and law, reading Bad Trip – a collection of the best poetry about the worst travel – when I smelled it. It was this sweet-fermented smell. The mix of musk and molasses. It was the smell of a perfectly aged book.

We all know how books are to be read, deciphered, and underlined. But a book is bigger than the black letters it contains. I, for one, despite being in the “going to” space-age, prefer paper to lcd or kindle. So yes, coming back, the book – the book smells this smell, and it feels different too. The pages seem to have grown fluffier. And the small cracks on the ribs, almost like wrinkles on a gracefully aged hand. An aged book.

And its not the only smell. They go as far as Beethoven does from Younger Brother. There is the smell of class six to class ten NCERT books. Those plastic covered, ribbed with brown tape books. There is also the smell of law journals, i mean I love it. The smell of cheap paper, more so the feel. The paper seems to get thinner and more translucent, the smell is stingy, too. The Highly chemical smell that some of the new space age recycled paper books smell like ( I tried deodarant to Allure). Tintin comics also smell different, the white in the comics seems to become more life like. Magazines are a world apart, they smell like starch and caustic soda. Though it must be noted that some magazines like the New Yorker and old National Geographics do smell a lot better. Newspaper becomes brittle, almost delicate. It’s a riches to rags story. So smell.

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~ by Shashank Kumar on July 22, 2008.

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