Fragrant water

Some words evoke images that may be completely different from their intended meaning. It has to do with cadences of language, languages rather, that exist and commingle in our being, that determine which sound evokes what in one’s neural pathways.

Take ‘frangipani’. It’s a beautiful word for me, and not only because it is the name of a beautiful flower. Whenever I hear ‘frangipani’ — roll it around my tongue or just think it — the sense that is evoked in my mind is….’fragrant water’!

‘Frangi’ I suppose sounds similar to fragrant because of the ‘fr’ sound. And ‘pani’, well, it is water in Hindi, my first learned language, the language in which I still do a lot of thinking, a lot of talking, a lot of dreaming. Despite this whole thing about being a writer in English.

This, then, is the gift of the language that has seeped into my psyche, has formed me in so many ways. That I can hear the name of a flower, and think….fragrant water!


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