Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Cryptic Smell

Part 1

“So you can smell the future", I say to Nielson with utter astonishment. I'm George Muller, a professional smell expert. I have done my PhD from The Smell and Taste Center of THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. The enunciation is made by the person who I know from my childhood, we had our schooling together from Boston. We both lived there, after that Nielson had gone to Boston University for his graduation in chemistry. We used to continue writing letters to each other even after three years of our high school. I heard he was perusing his master's on Bio-medical sciences. But we were out of touch for about 8 years. No meeting, no mailing, no phone calling. I was indomitably busy with my PhD so I couldn't manage time for that. Even it wasnt easy for me to recognize Nielson after so many years. He has changed a lot, he is looking more aged. His discreet eyes have become overshadowed.

 I ask him," How long are you seeing, oh sorry smelling like this?” He seems quite warded-off with his life; I dont make out the reason. "It was the day when I was in my final year of graduation. My girlfriend took me at a place towing my eyes; she asked ,'do you know which place it is?' Suddenly I got a smell of the place very intensely. I got a smell of a stage on which a play is going to be....”

"Wait, wait! The smell of a Stage? Are you crazy? I am a smell expert; I know it is possible to distinguish certain places by smell like a house, a college room, an office etc. But how can you percept that this is the smell of the stage and a play is going to take place?" I am quite doubtful this time, it seems like a sci-fi story to me.

"Sorry, Muller I don't know, I really don't know. I smelt, but I'm sure. It is just dark in my eyes, but I smelt it. Even she was quite astounded. But she thought someone has informed me that she is acting on that play", Nielsons words pronounced quite confident.

Though I can't believe him, I decide to take a test of his ability what he is claiming. I ask him," Can you predict something that will happen in my place within one hour?"

"I'm not sure, I can try", he closed his eyes and trying to smell the atmosphere, that is at least what I understand.

He is in that situation for about 8 minutes, after that he opened his eyes; he smiled sagaciously and says, Your wife will arrive in this room after 30 minutes with some packet, I think some gift packet in her hands". Then I understand he was just assuming some event and somehow it matches in selective cases, so he is saying this. "My wife has gone in a business trip; she is going to return after 2 days, she is in London. You are wrong my friend. But how do you know I'm married? I haven't informed you till now."

It seems Nielson is quite confused, it can't be" he murmurs." I smell it clearly" he holds his head in his hand. I try to console him, it happens. It is just like an illusion and dont worry, let's see you have said after half an hour she will arrive, wait for that time and see it yourself, your misconception will evaporate.." He is looking very upset. He hasn't said a single word in the next 30 minutes.

Then it's my turn for being flabbergasted, my wife Jenifer enters the room. Ah! Our project manager got severely injured in a car accident there, so we have to drop the final meeting, it's a great deal and its slipped from our hand." I take a look at Nielson, he smiles roughly. I am so much surprised that I can't express it by any words.

You are telling the truth", I said this after 5 minutes of the unpredictable shock. He is my school friend Nielson, I introduce him to Jenifer, I think you are tired of your journey, go get some rest, I bade her a goodbye. Then I turn to Nielson, "so, you are right, you have some miraculous abilities which no one has. But how does it appraise? What is the problem if it is revealing the future?” Again he smiled the same way," Apparently there is no problem, it's much beneficial to know an event much earlier than it actually happens, but if there is a place where a few incidents will going to take place. I can smell all of them, and I can't restraint it. So all these smells get engage in my head. I perceive to be choked, I can't breathe freely. Its distressing." I see a sign of disappointment on his face; I never seen him like that. He was best friend in my school days, so I assure him, I will help you as far as I can. I am a smell expert, you are a bio-medical chemist, and if we work together there must be one way out from this situation. "

I propose Nielson to reside in my place till we solve the problem, I don't refer him to any psychiatrist because I know they will not understand his disease and he may face some unprecedented troubles. We fix to research on that matter from the very next day. Having an old friend in a new country and when he is your former best friend, it's beatitude to me. To solve his problem becomes my obligation.

Part 2

Next day

 "Nielson, let's start with basic. we know that the olfactory nerve is responsible for the conduction of the smell to the brain. Basically the front lobe has this job. See, brain has a stipulated job of decoding the smell signal so it's nothing to do with this. If we can control the absorption of the smell by any means or decrease the effect of smell, it will be a temporary solution." I explain my thoughts to Nielson. "But this will not work for longer as I think; we need to search a permanent solution. We can reduce the amount of smell by simply using anesthesia. But how long can it work?", say Nielson.

We started researching on that matter, for that time we use anesthesia to his nerve so that the adverse effect can be minimized, but we understand it suppresses all his sense organ functions. We have to find a new anesthesia which can only act on smell organs. In the meantime I have a call from Sweden Science Congress. That is also very significant to me, so I have to leave for Sweden. But I promise Nielson to return as soon as I complete with my work there.

 "You must mail me every week about the improvement of the research and about your condition. My wife will be at home, you can ask her about anything you need, and we will find a cure. Dont worry" I bade a goodbye to Jenifer and Nielson and leave for Sweden next morning.

Part 3

I'm not the only one in the science Congress from The Smell and Taste Center, I meet some of my seniors there, but it is a huge conference, scientists from different parts of the world appear there. It is basically about the increasing pollution in the environment and how its affecting the different body parts. I am there to discuss about adverse effect of this contamination on smelling ability of human and how to recover it. I am proud to be invited in such a meet, but also the thought of Nielson makes me worried.

After five days a mail from Nielson is received by me:

Dear Muller,
 You must be glad to know that I have invented a long lasting anesthetic which can work on my olfactory nerve and can suppress it's action distinctly. I am feeling much better after applying this. How's your seminar going? I stayed a long time in your house, maybe its a torture on you to serve an uninvited guest so I'm going back to Boston. Don't worry; we will work together as soon as you came back from Sweden. Take care of yourself.
Your friend,
Adalard Nielson.

I am quite mitigated after getting the mail; at least he is approaching towards a cure. I reply him with other concerns and attached a video of my speech in science Congress. Days are very busy here; even I don't have enough time to sleep properly. I can't realize where from a week has passed. Another mail from Nielson comes to me.

Dear Muller,
I am using the same anesthetic; it seems quite perfect for me. I can go out using this. I have gone yesterday in a cinema hall. I feel much better, but only thing to mention is that I am getting a smell completely unknown to me for about 2 days; it may be of some event that hasn't happened with me ever. Surprisingly the smell is very meager. I can hardly smell it, when no other smells are coming. Otherwise I am completely fine. I have seen your lecture in the newspaper surely it was worth of acclamation. Take care, best of luck for your presentation tomorrow.
Your friend,
Adalard Nielson

Yes, I have my presentation tomorrow. It was also published in the science journal. I think the strange smell experienced by Nielson may be a silly thing because there are several things that we have not experience in our life. So it's completely unfounded to pay attention on such a matter. But the strange smell draw all my attention after the next mail that came to me exactly after ten days.

Dear Muller,
Congratulations for your great presentation, it is all over the newspaper. It is completely new concept to restrict air contaminant to enter our body. You are simply brilliant. But here I think I have another problem; do you remember the smell I have been talking about? I am smelling it more intensely. Its all around me. I cant get any other smell except that. It's a strange smell, a mixture of wet soil, rotten leaves and herbs. But it's very intense. I can't smell a single thing without it. We will look out on that matter as soon as you return. Take care.
Adalard Nielson

This is surely a matter of great concern. What could it be? I have to be prepared for my speech tomorrow. I decide to call Jenifer tomorrow and tell her to contact Nielson. But in the pressure of work I forget all this, when I remember to call her a week has already passed and unfortunately she is out of town for her work. So I can't tell her about the fact. I determine to call Nielson, but even he is not receiving the phone. I try for many times the whole day. I also can't leave this place because this seminar is very important to me, I decide to go back as soon as possible and reach Boston before going home.

Part 4

The seminar continues for 18 more days, but I have already fixed to go to Boston. He lives near Ermst-Reuter-Platz; I went to that place many times in my childhood. What did he do to his house? The garden near the house has converted into forest of darnel. I open the gate, it howls in intense pain. But his door is locked, I don't expect that , I know one of his neighbors, I go to his house and ask her about Nielson and the answer I get astonish me in a terrifying level, "he had died about two weeks ago, he had a sudden heart attack when he was in some research as the police report says. He told me that you will certainly come and told me to give these keys to you". She gives the keys of his house to me.

It was just completely preposterous, a person who was absolutely fine about a month ago, and as he went through some medical tests in my house, he was declared completely fit mentally and physically. In the mean time I already reach near the door of Nielsens house. I unlocked his door with shivering hand.

A sultry smell is enclosed within the house. What could happen to him? Suddenly I realize may be he knows about what's going to happen. I run to his study, I start searching all his desk, all files and papers on the desk and the table to find a single clue. Suddenly I open the first drawer of his desk and notice a paper kept on the top of all files. Its a letter, it is written to me. I pull it out and start reading this letter.

Dear Muller,

I have discovered the riddle behind the strange smell. You remember, I said you that I miss the smell of our old football ground where we used to play after every school day. You can feel smell of any event which you love, doesnt matter where and when you are. The smell is becoming more prominent because the event is coming nearer and nearer. I recognized this smell, I feel my breath polluting with that strange smell. It's the smell of death. I am going to die, but it's not your fault. You are the last friend I had; I want you to know all this. Wish you a prosperous life ahead. GOOD BYE.

Your best friend,
Adalard Nielson

I am so stupefied after reading that letter; I can't even decide what I have to do now. I look out of the window. Spring has arrived. New leaves are coming in the grey skeleton of the maple tree. I smell hard to feel the smell of the ground where we used to play after our school…

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