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Nosing Around A Nose


“O!! Congratulations….sir. You’ve a grandson…..child is so cute & his nose is so straight & so fine…lucky sir”. These words roused me from my sadistic state. I was not in myself as since morning my daughter had been experiencing labor pains. Nurse was referring to the nose of the baby so specially as if no other organs are worthy of mention.

Why…for a minute I imagined…yes…how absurd the face would be without that! The face would look as smooth as a pancake. The nurse’s nose reference, in the bliss of solitude, made me ponder deeply. My head & heart demanded a treat for it & the courteous hands had to award that.

If we muse at the placement of the nose with two hairy hollow nostrils on the face we feel, it is centrally & majestically located over the thick line of mustachios, under the two eyes providing a support for the double arch of the eyebrows. On its capital the forehead, the store-house of hidden written document of the predestined ups & downs, clicks & slicks of our life. From the aesthetic point of view also the nose is supreme. In view of its prominent position nose is a kind of witness or evidence of a person’s character. It is capable of expressing two functions at once---that of smell & a kind of speech. When I say a kind of speech I remember the people expressing their disgust. How expressive.., isn’t it?

Whenever a man is in a mood of anger or robust quarrelling it is expressed by his nose with its dilated nostrils. You must have people heard saying—“Don’t expand your nose. I haven’t done anything wrong & denouncing”. It is very much certain that nose plays its role in expressing love, in pressing entertainment & impressing critical remarks.


John Brophy in his book ‘The Human Nose’ says that “One which nose often provokes ridicule from unkind observers & humiliation in those who consider themselves unfortunately dealt with by nature, is the nose”? The long nose, the hook nose, the bulbous nose are the part of stock-in-trade of comedians in plays & jokers in circus who are the most favorite of children. Napoleon preferred people with big & long nose in the officorial cadres when he wanted any brainy work done. Zoology doesn’t anything on this.

Nose is the lovelier & ever vigilant part of the face. We can’t imagine a human face without a nose.., can we? I call ever vigilant, coz other parts of the face….eyes sleep, mouth closes, ears deafen but the nose is always on duty…

The nose is so mischievous that it instigates the tongue if it senses any aromatic delicacy. It orders the hands to close it if there is any bad odour…for sometimes that bad odour creates a sense of nausea & makes the stomach vomit. So isn’t it an active organ? The nose is an endeared part of a face for a woman. The nose ring on their nose speaks a lot of the feminine grace. The nose ring that Rajasthani woman wear is called ‘bhulak’ which is attached to both the nostrils. The nose-stick incident turned the miserly & greedy Srinivas into Purandara Dasa distributing all his wealth amongst the poor & the needy. Our literature would not have been enriched without Purandara Dasa’s meaningfully devotion padas & kirtanas.

During my school days, once I’d a fun with a nose. My maternal brother used to visit us often. During his visit to us he used to sleep in my room. I used to be disturbed in my studies & sleep by his terrible snoring, a tuneful serenade. I made a plan to get rid of him. One day, I took a cotton wick & slowly inserted in his nostrils. There was such a burst. A big burst, don’t ever ask!!! From that day whenever he sees me he screws his nose indicating that he would pay me through my nose one day or the other. The other day I was telling my friend not to quarrel with his family members & how he should help them to help themselves. CHUT…was the retort… “Don’t poke your nose in to my affairs”. I began to wonder at this expression as how it came into usage. Is it coz, the face comes first in that case & the nose its protruding part would be the first naturally!!

The nose is a symptomatic expressor of certain disorders or infections of the stomach---a red nose indicating indigestion, scratching of nose indicates worms infected stomach. Running nose with coryza is the cold affected nose. Once when all the friends were talking, the talk turned on Jayant while telling about his loose morals one of my friends laid a finger on the nose. I didn’t follow, tube light I’m. Many days later I could sense that the sign meant a man keeping a whore. The nose has to pay the penalty if the mind goes wrong. In Ramayana, Shrupanka got her nose cut by Laxman when she expressed her desire to marry him. While walking if legs go wrong and mind goes off first the nose gets injured and thus pays penalty for their folly. How noble!!! In some parts of our villages wanton women are called nose less, obviously referring to the habits of husbands who cut off the noses of their infidel wives.

My wife always complains about my nose as she can’t give surprise dishes full of aroma, for I readily smell everything. Surprise & suspense will be missing. That is why she jokes whether I’d been a police Alsatian dog in my previous birth... Sometimes she has complimented too when I told her about seething milk, rice & dal on the gas having put & forgotten. The ‘nose’ has enriched the linguistic expressions in almost all languages. The Expression ‘Paying through the nose’ may be traced in the 19th century when the Irish were compelled to pay tribute to their Nose conquerors or suffer a slit nose. History tells us that there was once a nose tax of a penny nose in Sweden. ‘To do a thing on nose’ is a phrase for punctuality in modern American English. Some English words have typical nasal sounds in eaten, mutn, gotn..Etc.

While I was giving final touches to my talk my wife came to me & reminded that we should go into temple, for it was an auspicious day. I told her that I was busy writing an essay on nose without seeing her. My daughter shrieked and told me, “Papa, see, see, and mummy has twisted her nose at your work”. Then I turned to my wife and told my daughter, “She’s right…let her do, Pinky…for I’d promised a nose stick on our first marriage anniversary. Though silver jubilee of our marriage anniversary falls this year, I’m not bale to keep up my promise….Poor me”. Pinky kept quiet simply nosing at me for being a defauler.

“This year I must get her a diamond nose-stick somehow. I’ve to honor her really beautiful long & straight nose”. Pinky shouted, “Mummy…three cheers to your nose”... I put my pen down with a satisfaction of nosing around the nose.

Contributing Writer: Shubha Mangala, a single parent Email:    

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