And now disturbing this happy, familial camaraderie, is an imposter. A fellow with a loudspeaker! As he rattles off into the mike, his voice hits my ears and I feel as though he is pushing his cart from my pinna, along the ear canal, to my exasperated ear drum! Yet, despite the high decibel levels, I do not get what he is selling...all I know is that it costs Rs 100 a kilo. I bet it is too expensive. :I
Others in the loudspeaker brigade include the guy who comes once in a while in a van, I imagine, announcing in a sort of kind voice that he will repair our mattresses and make diwan covers. Another chap wants old silk sarees in exchange for new (how devious and clever), and yet another wants to buy old stuff from homes. Thankfully, all these make guest appearances, and do not cause the level of irritation that the Rs 100-a-kilo chap achieves.
Speaking of loud speakers, the breed is increasing. I have never felt the need and so have not explored the ease or difficulty level of setting up a mike and shouting or singing into one. But I suspect, as with other technology, it is becoming easier by the day. Bhajans and chants that travelled a floor or two in a muffled sort of way are now travelling loud and sharp - out of those blasted speakers - permeating almost the entire locality. When this happens, our whole building reverberates like there is an earthquake, and however many doors and windows we close, the blast from the neighbour's loudspeaker literally throws us around the house with our hands to our ears, helpless and in agony. God help those who are very old or sick or mothers with babies who just fell asleep, looking forward to a quiet cup of tea.
How easy or difficult is it to sound proof one's home? - is what I am wondering now. But then, I would miss the birds, the traffic and the old bandiwalas. And I do know from occasional trips abroad that the pin drop silence of the suburbs there disturbs me more than the comforting SFX of my surroundings. Minus loud speakers, needless to say. So is there a solution to this, apart from training one's tympanum to be tolerant to the increasing decibel levels, and hoping that one would not become deaf in the process?
Photo by Jon Snydal on Flickr