by Raji Singh
I am James Thaddeus Fiction, the Fifth – a true Fiction. Typhoon tears me from my parents. I alone survive. I become an orphaned foundling, taken in by new loving parents, Dr. Ben and Indira Singh. Now, I am Raji. These are my found and foundling tales.
I discover that my ‘giving-back to the world’ summer job as youngster would be volunteering on a road kill clean up gang. (See Chef R.K’s Gourmet Surprise) How can this help others? Soon I would see, and it would change my life. A strange and wonderful sixth sense would awaken.
* * *
My parents and I walk along the gravel roadside, amongst Lindia’s most impoverished, to meet the man in charge of the road kill crew. A crescendo of sound and scent, mixing, becoming an almost indescribable sixth sense, overpowers me.
I. The Scents:
Carried on a spicy bed of gently warmed cinnamon twigs, propelled by a soft breeze, comes a unique sweet-coconut, sleepy-cocoa aroma one smells only in these Lindian Woods. Quilting it are the sour of lemon drips, the pungent shavings of ginger, earthy cumin, the licorice smell-taste of fennel, and the sharp mint of coriander. These delicacy scents, savored daily by even Lindia’s poorest. These are all combinations completely new to me. I would learn all about them that summer and they would remain with me, in my smell and taste sensations to this adult day.
II. The Sounds:
The scents mix with the sweet, hypnotic strings of sitar music that flow smoothly through the pungent air, mixing, roiling together until they become one –the unknown sixth sense. Where have I heard these soothing sounds? So familiar. I feel I am swept onward by the wave of humanity in which I travel, toward the smell, toward the sound. The music and the aroma do not get more intense and louder. Instead, they mingle even more; become even more – as one – if that is possible. Then I realize. The music is from an identical, scratchy, yet still beautiful old 78 Victrola record Mother so often played.
From Beethoven’s Ninth – Ode to Joy played in gentle solo by Ravi Shankar. His echoing strings seem to still the Lindian Wood’s bird whistles and small animal chirps. Are the creatures studying the tone, so they can later join the serenade?
I tell myself. This is the most beautiful music ever composed; and played at its most beautiful.
III. The Intermingling:
I imagine myself a movie cartoon. My nostrils flare to breathe in all of the scent that I can. I puff up my face as if a hot air balloon. My body rises, is parallel to the terra firma that my feet no longer touch. My ears enlarge, as those of an elephant; they flap like wings to take me to the sweet sound and smells.
Not my parents, not the crowd, notice as I soar up and above them. Airborne, the scents are ever fresher, and the chords of the sitar sing out even more clearly.
My sixth sense allows me to smell-hear the crackling sizzle of car and truck flattened monkey, mongoose, and cobra dropping onto a grill and being filleted and fricasseed. Magically, it seems, there is not one shred of gamey meat or melting fur drifting my way. I realize – it is nothing supernatural. The Chef’s culinary way, combined with Maestro Shankar’s unparallel intonations creates this never before known sixth sense.
Am I the only one who realizes this? If so, why?
Have my suddenly acute senses, via imagination, helped me discover my life’s passion?
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. They are completely different stories. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)
©2014 Raji Singh