Sunday, November 4, 2007

Silent cacophony...


'It's 1 am and i am in my study room in the city that never sleeps... cars rush by my window... trucks that belong to state highways pass by the narrow lane of kastur park... a raunchy music plays nearby in some hut... noise and me, inseparable...'

'Traffic signal at borivli station... i hold lassi in my hand... chattering friends.. i dont hear them... vehicles honk... autos sputter amd fume... train blares its horn... a woman shouts... daily marketplace heating up with bargaining customers... noise and me, inseparable'

'Chug chug, chug chug... I am hanging by the handles to my dear life... the dadar fast local speeds up over the mahim creek... a boy sells MidDay... the bhajani mandal plays its regular set of songs... one bangs his rings on the sidewall... another sings... others chorus... i smile... noise and me, inseparable'

Mumbai taught me everything that I need to know to survive in this world... but it never told me how to battle silence... Silence, that creeps in your ears, builds up its music and assaults your eardrums with the sharpness of fresh paper sheets... and so when the battle began, there was no one to help me, to conquer this unknown enemy... Me in a house, that I knew nothing about, in a place that I knew nothing about except the fact that it had a bus stop next to it...

I went in the bedroom to find my 3 bags, waiting to be assaulted upon... I pulled out a list from my handbag... bag1 - cooker, pan, ladles.... the last time i scrutinised the sheet, i saw a woman wiping away a tear from an eye begging to yield... I put it away... i better rely on my memory... I opened bag 1... utensils piled neatly... masalas in a saree bag... pickles... chunda... i grinned... kaki aaji made that for me on the last day, packing it with the skill of a DHL employee...

the bracelet... my backside felt a numb pain... the birthday bumps my friends gifted me with this piece, still echoed in my insides... the smiles, the laughter, the kicks, the jokes... I rummaged in bag 2... metacin pills inside pant pockets, shirt collars, compass box... mom knows all the tricks to fool the immigration police... a pang... knives carefully packed in water bottle... "Gokhale mavshi did the same thing, siddharth... dont worry about it..."

the memories overpowered me with the swiftness of US air delivery service... some happy, some sad... mixed emotions... and silence... they make an awful recipe...

My ears implored for the sound of a car, the cry of crows, the music from shanties, the shouts of children selling hairpins and combs, the inharmony of the harmonium playing Pardesi, pardesi... the giggles of a dear friend, the gossip about a hot news, the squabbles in a cricket field, the festive music at ganesh chaturthi, the chug-chug of a Virar fast, the honking, the bargaining with gullible hawkers, the sweet comforting words of a mother, the teasing of a brother, the word 'Gadhadya' from a father...

Anything would do... anything at all... but none came... I ventured out of the house that threatened to engulf me in a flame that didnt scorch from outside, but from within... I stumbled on the road, to find some human, any would do, just to talk and to listen to... the road was deserted, the cedar lane was devoid of any animal life... I remembered the apartment number of the senior where Jay was staying and increased my pace... I rang the bell and waited for a time that seemed eternity... Jay had just woken up... Relieved to find him, we set off to Ramya's place where we heard of a meeting...more the merrier...

A boy stood outside devoring a chicken burger... chuckling and talking with another who stood silent... Teda and Vikas... Teda?? Tejaswy? the president of RIGSA? I had imagined him to be all uptight and serious... and this fellow had mayonaise trickling down his mouth and chuckles resounding over the lane... Ramya... the bubbly girl who gave us tips... she looked right for her part... the meeting began and the words temp Acco, pick up, ashish kumar were shared with much gusto...

Numb... My mind was slowly losing its excitement... I couldn't comprehend the discussion and bid goodbye to my hosts and Jay... The events didn't matter any more... sleep, more sleep... 10 pm.. yes, it was the ideal time to surrender to the queen of dreams... A thin sheet, an air pillow and soon I entered into a realm where silence didn't hurt, but soothed the troubled soul...


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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

3 comments:

vaidehi said...

NICE!

CODE said...

chaaaan lihilays yaar!!

Poonam said...

hi iam onkars friend,he asked me to read it cause even he goes through the same, u have written is so amazing that even if iam in india while reading i thought iam experiencing it.hats off to you.& hope u will adjust soon.