KATHMANDU, Sept 22: “Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed nose of mine!” said William Carlos Williams in his poem “Smell”. Oh, how much I loved reading that poem - if not for an equally incessant nose of mine that kept wanting to run.
An equally incessant nose of mine that knows no bounds comes along with more hours of sputtering of snots than what it has been divinely appointed to do – breathing.
At the wake of the dawn, I found myself struggling to breathe with a blockade somewhere down the tunnel of those hairy nostrils. For a while I could not understand what was happening. Was I dreaming? Am I dreaming? Was I having one of those dreaded nose-attacks that slowly sneaks up to you when you least expect?
It has been a month or so that I have been suffering from some alien form of “cough and cold”; not the common kind. And, can we please remove the “cough” and only keep the “cold”? My friend sympathetically suggested perhaps I had caught one of that ‘viral flu’ stuff which has been floating around Kathmandu quite literally.
I mean, the valley definitely is no epitome of obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ish cleanliness, given the amount of polluted air there is, and I doubt if those fifteen rupees masks can save me and my nose from the dangers of the invisibles.
In desperation, and only because the degree of desperation was dripping down my nose, I went to seek some medical expertise but to no avail. I was given a set of drills and pills; 10 days of amoxicillin, 10 days of coldin, and seven days of decongestant.
The ‘decongestant’ is no joke. It is what it says it is. After a few drops, you will have one of the most abrasive sneeze attacks that the world has heard. All that waiting in the line to see the doctor, not to mention the money you spend, will be rewarded with a trumpeting nose attached to your face. Everywhere you go, it comes along with you, declares itself at the oddest of hours and puts you in the snot-light.
When the dosages of medicine finally came to the brink, I decided to give my nose a test run. In the beginning, everything seemed perfectly fine. It began with a sputter but gradually opened up to breathe in the humid air. I was happy.
I could breathe in the bouts of rainfall of the past few days, the lingering laziness of the afternoon, and the fresh freedom of sniffing delicacies being cooked in the kitchen by my mummy.
One, two, three: aan-ch-ooo! This is all that was required for my amnesiac nose to be reminded of its ability to be irritable. I wanted to just cry; I saw no light at the end of the tunnel, I saw no halo hovering over the nose angel, I saw no nose angel at all! One of the problems with having a runny nose, a noisy runny nose, is it bars you from using the fullest of your abilities to discern conversations, participate in those conversations, and at times, appreciate them. It is the Achilles’ heel – but on the tip of your nose. Imagine that!
I have lost faith in the science of medicine; if I could I would have gone to a shaman but I have heard that the one in our tole is also bed-ridden with the very viral flu that my friend suspected me of having caught.
I do not know how to end this thing. My incessant nose prevents me from making coherent thoughts, and arranging them. I am not even sure how I made it this far – with a dilapidated and drugged me-self – and I can only hope that this ode finds you and your nose in good health.
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