Sillage: A Word For Life


“There’s a word for it,” she told me, “in French, for when you have a lingering impression of something having passed by-Sillage. I always think of it when a firework explodes and lights up the smoke from the ones before it.
That’s a terrible word,” I teased. “Its like an excuse for holding on to the past.
Well, I think its beautiful. A word for remembering small moments destined to be lost.

In this extract from his work ‘The Beginning of Everything’, Robyn Schneider has brilliantly described the magnificence and grace the word ‘Sillage’ epitomizes. The dictionary too defines this word with a rhythmic expression:

Sillage  /sēˈäZH/: The scent that lingers in the air; the trail left in the water; the impression made in space after something or someone has been and gone; the trace of someone’s perfume.

Why I chose to write an article on this word is that I believe that there are infinite words and expressions to describe this world, its people, its bounties, its elements, its phenomenon, its developments; basically our vocabulary is replete with words and expressions that throw light on what is concrete- on whatever comes within our stringently defined bourne of beauty. But unfortunately what we do not realize is that beauty is limitless and there are very few words that carve out this limitlessness- this eternity that accentuates not what has gone by, but what follows and creates an ambience abounding small doses of pristine enchanting moments that add that tinge of serene wonderfulness to this world.

Sillage is one such enlivening word that captures the little, short lived feelings and moments that make us feel alive, even if it’s for a split second, that make us realize that there is beauty in reverberations, that beauty never ends, that life is beautiful, even if its lifeless.

So turn around, reinvigorate your senses and try to see, hear and feel…

The petrichor that rejuvenates even after the pearls stop falling from heaven.
The glistening puddles and trails that mark the wake of a ship.
The pure Herculean imprints that someday vested a heartbeat.

Only then you’ll know that true happiness is one that shines right through the eyes. Only then you’ll know that if it’s the shooting star you make a wish upon, it’s the endless gleaming sky that nurtures your faith.

It is rightly said that it’s no coincidence that the middle two letters of life are ‘if’. Don’t let go of the slightest of happiness- open your heart and let it beat to the mesmerizing plethora of ethea that life offers so that there’s no room for if only’s and what if’s.

About the Author:

Kalyani Rai Bansal (UILS, PU Campus)


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