September 08, 2014

Two sentences about the sounds of my city















On Ganesh visarjan day, in my swelled up city, 
which is actually a conglomeration of energetic bastis with people - 
young people, lots of them, shouting, screaming, 
drumming and dancing teen maar and playing music - 
everything over loudspeakers -- bhajans, folk, lungi dance - lungi dance - 
mixed with the sounds of garbage being dumped and garbage being cleared, 
mingled with the sharp "aaaaah" made by the child with a mental disorder, 
immediately followed by the scolding by his mother, 
and then from the second floor, a celebratory "Ganapati bappa moriya" 
by a leader and the led; 
cars and scooters zooming past is a constant, the blaring of horns too - 
then from the road, "Ganesh maharaj ki jai" as a procession zooms past; 
then a car reverses, spreading its mechanical repetitiveness; 
the old woman coughs; 
someone drags furniture across the floor in the flat above mine; 
and simultaneously the banana bandiwala on the street shouts, "mauz, mauz"; 
I also hear the tapping of Vijay's keyboard; 
then a sneeze somewhere -- a Very Loud Sneeze - 
interspersed with the boy's "aaaaaaah" and the "kik, kik, kik" of the lift; 
I then hear the "pooo, pooo, pooo" of what we now know as the vuvuzela; 
I hear the "treeeeeeng" of the bell calling the watchman, and then suddenly 
the prayer from the masjid - over loudspeakers - 
the beep from the UPS, and then someone is using a grinder, 
someone else has put on the TV, 
and the children have begun to play cricket. 

Somewhere amidst all these sounds, as I work at my desk in my office on Street no 5 in this busy, dizzy, animated city, I also hear the sun birds and the bubuls chirp.