“Impossible, was it?”, that was the standard thought in his mind when he could not get something done. A quick analysis of his position was enough to tell him where and when he went wrong. Now the best possible option left with him was to scrap the whole project; starting all over again and completing it within two days would break his already broken back. So, the next question that came to his mind was not whether it was viable, feasible, practical or worthwhile; his mind had already scraped the project and was considering the options of holiday spots.
“Manali, hmm…Winters in Manali?” He had no desire to get cold and bury himself underneath layers of quilts and blankets. He wanted to go out and smell the world; not to confine himself in another place with musty smells.
“Hmm…smell…” He sniffed the bottle again.
“It still smells like shit.” He said decisively to himself and corked the bottle again.
Out of his window, the sun was a pleasant orange ball, and the saffron-tinge of the roses was more prominent than their red. “Hmm….”, he sighed again. He was thinking about which woods he had not yet explored; instinctively, he got up and got out in the woods behind his house.
Woods, he loved, there he felt most like himself. He trudged along the path he could follow in his sleep, to his thinking spot. The thread-thick stream gurgled and leaped and chirped at his feet. The mossy old tree trunk creaked beneath his weight. He looked down at the whitish-blue stream and then at the pinkish-orange-blue sky, then at the mossy trees here and the non-mossy trees there, at the mushrooms in the undergrowth and at the mushrooming undergrowth; breathing in every sight. He fiddled and broke the twigs and sticks he could get in his hand and stomped the stones on the ground, and kept on grinding them as though torturing them for his own failure.
“Sad…..” He thought out aloud and sighed again; then he picked up another thing and crushed it between his hands. Instantly, he could smell the note he had wanted, he sniffed his hands again. Yes, it was definitely what he needed to make things right, but what exactly was it that had resulted in that particular smell, he could not figure out. It wasn’t the deodar sticks he had broken a milllion times, nor the ten different weed leaves he had crushed; no, not any combination of them either. He would know those smells after drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniels, neat.
Then, he saw the brownish-green pine-cone at his feet. He smiled at the crushed thing, at the bird who had wrenched it off the tree, at the tree from whom that fateful thing had come. He smiled at the world and the world smiled at him. He basked in his own glory, rather than the glory of that beautiful sunset. He now knew which woods to go for holidaying, and what to do with his project.