Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The noise conundrum

The noise pollution on Delhi roads comes in all shapes and sizes, is relentless, gives not a moment of respite and is one of my versions of Hell. People honk the horns on cars, two wheelers, autos, buses etc etc for the wrong reasons, for the right reasons, and for no reason at all. They honk the horn once, then throw in the second or third or fourth honking as if it were a 1+ 1 (2/3/4) free scheme. There appears to be no compliance with the regulations regarding the horn that a particular type of vehicle may use so there are two wheelers which sound like trucks and cars which have wailing sirens. Once in 6 months or so, I step into the madness that are Delhi roads and return exhausted beyond measure simply because of the incessant, high decibel noise I have to put up with. 

Roads aren't the only offender, however. Step into a hospital and you are greeted with a cacophony of squeaking doors, repairs/renovation staff hammering/drilling away, oxygen cylinders being dragged across the floor with an awful screeching sound, patient trolleys hurtling down ramps when they have no occupants, housekeeping/nursing staff calling out to each other across corridors, visitors/attendants of patients engaged in loud conversations and a myriad cell phones ringing in a medley of ring tones that grates on one's nerves. 

Shopping malls play odious music at unbearably high levels for reasons that I have never been able to figure out. Even without the music, the hordes that descend upon shopping malls, specially on Friday evenings and weekends, make quite an unbearable buzz. It appears impossible for most people to shop or eat or even watch a movie without talking in high pitched voices -----everyone does it, the old, the young, the not so young and the very young. Why is loud music added to the deadly medley? 

Step into a restaurant, or a Barista/Cafe Coffee Day, or even an exorbitantly priced five star coffee shop. The music is loud, and so are the patrons. 

Railway stations and bus terminals are, of course, a special version of Hell where noise levels are concerned. 

Sometimes I wonder whether I suffer an illness that makes me especially vulnerable to the distress caused by noise ------ then I recall the years that we spent in my native village and the peace and calm that surrounded us. Surely, that is the natural order of things, not the cacophonous world we inhabit in cities? 

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