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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Scented Memento : Remembering the Gums of India
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'Hyderabad in December is as hot and dry as Adelaide and requires the same kind of drenching. As I bumped around the city in the back of an autorickshaw, my cotton shirt forming a damp membrane between my skin and the cracked vinyl seat, the white wine on my shopping list became a priority. I came to a roadside bottle shop in Jubilee Hills, where the rich inhabit cool, shaded mansions and liquor is sold from shacks. I stood on a concrete step, peering through a metal grating at the wine selection on the shelves within; my purchase was dusted off, secreted in a black plastic bag and passed over. I moved under a nearby tree to stash my bottle and realised, glancing up, that the trunk belonged to a lonely, lofty gum tree stretching out wide boughs of twisting leaves. I reached up to pluck one, pinched it along the seam and cracked it open with the lizard-quick, agile movements of someone who's done it all her life. As I inhaled the scent of eucalyptus I recalled Proust's account of involuntary memory before I was engulfed. I tumbled back through the years, over kilometres of land and ocean, until I found myself in the west of Adelaide, walking to school past similar trees; smelling their oil under the scorch of a similar sun, with the southern light pulsing through the streets. That day, I carried a handful of gum leaves back to my flat, where I left them to turn ash-brown and brittle. My life in Hyderabad continued; I didn't think of Australia or eucalyptus again, though the scent of the oil lingered on my fingertips until evening.'  (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Meanjin vol. 76 no. 2 Winter 2017 11860667 2017 periodical issue

    'In a phone call followed by several conversations and a string of other phone calls, John Clarke slowly explained to me the concept of the Commonplace Book. Not a diary. Not a journal. Jottings and observations; little notes on the subtle specialness of life. Several emails followed with various jotted musings attached.' (Editorial introduction)

    pg. 152-160
Last amended 25 Feb 2021 07:14:46
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  • Hyderabad,
    South Asia, South and East Asia, Asia,
  • Adelaide, South Australia,
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