“It smelled like green and I thought Vinay will like this description” he told me as we sipped lemon tea at Chai chowk. He was in Madekari district last week and when he reached Abby waterfall, there was a strong vegetal aroma that he could only describe as green.
“What does green smell like to you?” He asked me. Green smells like freshly cut grass (I know how clichéd that sounds) but it wasn’t the first thing in my head but after I contextualised it made more sense and the grass was it. But the mental image was far more different.
I did see and smell fresh cut grass but it’s early in the morning, the dew on the grass is still cold and stepping around there is petrichor in the air but only subtly. This still feels inadequately described and that’s when the argument that was made in the book “The illicit happiness of other people” by Manu Joseph hits me. Language is a limited device, it can never completely help describe many things and that might just be a means to hinder human evolution. This feels like a conspiracy theory but honestly there are many things that sound or seem simple till I start describing it to another person and feel the incomplete.
This inability to describe is something I fumble into when I’m describing or talking about nature, smell, visuals, shadows, light or sometimes just how it feels to touch an object and how that feels against the skin.