Disclaimer: This post is largely a rant out of frustration. It contains my displeasure at certain things happening around me. There is no intention to deliberately hurt anyone.
Now, you might think what do morning walks, religion and sensitivity have in common. They do. I am about to tell you how.
First of all, a little background.
~ We stay in an apartment that happens to be located right on a little lane. We are not on a main road, but a lane that branches off from a main road. I mean, we do not have a proper ‘compound’, a courtyard kind of area into which you walk in after you enter the main gate and walk across to reach our block of flats. Since we do not have a compound area, that insulation against the sounds of the roadside is gone.
~ Our bedroom is at the end of our house, and it faces the lane. Naturally, sound levels are quite high in the house, especially in the bedroom. This holds true for all the 8 houses in our apartment – all of them are modelled on the same lines.
~ I have always been a light sleeper. I wake up at the slightest sound, and it takes me a lot of time before I can go back to sleep, once I am disturbed. Our home in Ahmedabad was very quiet, and I was, in fact, stunned by the level of sound here when I first came. I learnt to live with it, however.
You get the drift of where this post is going, right?
There are hordes of people who pass by the lane outside our house on their morning walk, from 5.30 AM onwards. Many of them carry a pocket radio or a cellphone playing the Suprabhaatam or other shlokas at full volume. Sometimes, when I stand in my balcony in the early morning, the sound from the radios and cellphones is the only sound I can hear.
Among these morning walkers are people who gossip about everything – from their displeasure over their son staying over at their DIL’s house to the latest Amitabh Bachchan ads to the new silk saree that their husband bought for them. All of this conversation is carried out at high volume, mind you. The noise level rises by a few decibels.
Then, there are people who call out to their friends in apartments on the way to join them for the walk. ‘Oye, XYZ? Coming for a walk? No-aa?,’ is a phrase that we so commonly hear.
No, the lane is not my father’s property. The radios and cellphones belong to the morning walkers, not me. I cannot control their behaviour, but I sure get frustrated by it often. Why can’t they be a bit more sensitive, I feel? Why can’t these people quit shouting? Why can’t they use earphones on their radios and cellphones? There are a lot of old people living in our locality – some of them sick, and sleep late into the morning. There are several call-centre employees in our apartment who return at 4 or 5 AM after a hard night’s work, and they need their sleep. Sometimes, I have had a late night and want to sleep in a bit, and do not want to get up at 5.30 AM, but am woken up by all the din. And then I move around the whole day with burning eyes, a throbbing headache, and behaviour like an angry bear. Yes, it is morning time, I agree, but you cannot expect that everyone should be up at YOUR time, right?
Then, there are the men who bring their ‘Boom boom maadu‘, typically on weekends. There are small drums beating and the nadaswaram playing and shouts of ‘Amma, Sir, basava bandhidhe, kaasu kodi‘ (Madam, Sir, the holy cow has come, give some money). This happens at about 6.30 AM. I do not have anything against people choosing any means to earn their livelihood, but if I am irritated by it, I am. Both the OH and I keep a hectic schedule during the week, and weekends are when we expect to lie in a bit in the mornings. Sometimes, we catch up with a movie and dinner out on Friday night and go to bed late – after all, it is a holiday the next day. But, the ‘Boom boom maadu’ men make lying in impossible on most weekends. OK, I understand, it is a religious symbol and people believe that it brings good to the apartment (though I don’t see how my giving someone alms can bring good to my apartment), but I am not very happy when I am jolted out of a dream on a weekend morning. Why do we believe in creating so much noise on religious occasions? I have nothing against people praying and offering salutations to God, but can’t it be done peacefully? I cannot even begin to imagine the sound level in the houses of people who live close to temples here.
I prefer my mornings – specially on weekends – to be quiet. After a good sleep, I want to savour the peace with a cup of chai and a discussion over the incidents covered in the morning newspaper with the OH. I want to get ready for a usually hectic day ahead – mentally and physically. Most days, that is not to be.
The OH being a sound sleeper, and being the OH, tells me to cool down and not take this to heart. When my frustration is at its peak, he offers me suggestions to go to bed wearing earplugs. Hmpfh!
**Rant over. I am feeling better already. **