We lived in a busy lane just a few months ago. Cars, motorcycles, and even buses and trucks used to pass right under our home in a honking hurry to reach their destination. The half-dozen children in the building, whose parents had bought peaceful homes and not anticipated the traffic diversions that Bangalore would collapse without, would scream their lungs out in the stairwell, forced to exhaust their bountiful supply of childhood energy without stepping out the building. In this cacophonous neighborhood pressure cookers would whistle, music wafted in through the window, and the neighborhood alcoholic and his wife would have a screaming match with dogs barking to egg them on.
The calluses on my feet beat a hollow rhythm as I walk barefoot on the floors of my home. Their sound is deafening. Through the double-glazed, weather-proof windows, not a whisper can pass. When the windows are opened to let it fresh air, one only catches the polite whoosh of cars going swiftly and silently by. Even the construction of the large complex across the road is progressing without much smash-clatter-bang.
They who can be calm in a storm are admirable. I cannot claim membership to their club. For me, my new-found silence is precious. Long days that go by without uttering a word, long naps that end only because I want to wake up, long periods of quiet that let you reflect without having to resist the constant assault of new stimuli…I am addicted to them all.
Some would say the din I’ve left behind is life-affirming: a heady cocktail of sound gushing through the labyrinth of existence. For me, there is too much life in that noise, and too much noise in that life.