Just like every day, after completing all the domestic work I was on the way to my work. Sitting on the rear seat and going through the newspaper, was hoping for another normal day at the office, the car was cruising at a normal pace halting only at the signals. The noise all around was just typically irritating, and the continuous honking of vehicles was getting on my nerves. As it is these vehicles make such noise and to add to the disturbance this honking was really disturbing. Some people honk even to a speed breaker hoping honking would make it give way.
We passed by a Temple on the way and I really detested the loud Hymns and Chants broadcasted outside it, then we had a function hall also to add to my problems, sometimes wished I could take another route but had no option. I had many a time wished we had a noiseless world, where only silence prevailed. Cursing all the contributors to this unwanted pollution, I reached office and went to my cabin and started my work for the day. Like any other day, it was almost dark by the time I completed my work, but this was normal. Finally, I reached home tired, somehow managed to finish all my routine works, enjoyed a TV show while having a lavish dinner and went to bed for the night.
I woke up the next morning and looked at the timepiece and was astonished to see I was way late. I wondered,” How could I have missed the alarm?”, but did not give it much thought as I was already late. But all the while in the back of my mind I had a feeling that something was wrong and then decided to think about it later, I just proceeded with my regular routine but at a faster pace. As Usual, I switched on the TV while having my breakfast, the picture was ok but something was wrong with the audio, I fiddled with the volume control but that did not settle the issue, cursed its age and got along with the chores. I locked my apartment and proceeded for the car. The driver was already there, as usual, he greeted me, I did not hear or did not bother to, but I acknowledged him back. He opened the rear door and I got inside, picked up the business newspaper from the seat and made myself comfortable. He closed the door and moved towards the driving seat. Now for the first time, I noticed that from the morning I did not hear a Sound. Now, this was both pleasing and alarming, felt a surge of sudden insidious panic.
Now the car started and I could not hear the engine running, we passed by many crossroads and the traffic was very much the same as every day, but to my astonishment I could not hear any sound, leave alone the noise. I had always envied the lucky astronauts who went into space away from all the noise which we had to tolerate, but now suddenly my perception was becoming shaky. Like every day, we passed by the Temple, and now to my surprise I was actually looking forward to hear those Hymns which I had always hated, the place was all crowded as usual but there was no sound at all. It gave an eerie feeling and my heart missed a beat. For the first time, it struck to me about how frightening complete silence can be. There were many thoughts creeping inside me,” have I gone deaf”, “have I gone crazy” or “has the world gone bonkers”. I could see a local political leader standing on the dais and I could even see a few people sitting in front of the dais suggesting he was saying something but to my amazement I could hear nothing. By now the silence around had become horrendous and unbearable. I felt I was missing out something very important, very vital for life. Every noise producing thing which I had thought dreadful came to my mind and I was saying to myself,” God, please let it please make a loud noise”. It was as if I was going around in search of a little sound no matter where it came from. Suddenly the astronauts did not seem lucky anymore.
And lo… Suddenly I was startled by a shrill sound, only to find myself staring at the timepiece. It Seemed like I was having a bad nightmare. I woke up recollecting my dream and thanked God that it was only a dream. But it was something that taught me how to be appreciative about things we have around us in our life, no doubt they be of discomfiture at times but one should always try to bring them down to a comfortable level rather than writing them off. Now whenever I go to the park I just love the way children make noise when they play, I love the chirping of the birds, and love to catch the sounds of things which I never thought existed and even appreciate music. But then anything in excess is bad, even good food. So love the sounds around you, because it proves your existence and try to positively contribute to it. And since this is manmade, it entirely becomes our responsibility to keep the levels under check. Remember something liked by you may not go down well with the others, so make it enjoyable for everybody around. Play music at soothing levels, do not Honk unless necessary, avoid making a loud noise near schools and hospitals. After all, we all have come here to make this world more beautiful, so let’s do it…..

Dr. Pooja Upadhyay