Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Silence plz...

Forget enochlophobia, crowds…
Forget slums and the stench
Forget the sheer size and the volume
Forget pollution and the smoke, the dust…
I might get used to them. But the one thing about Mumbai that I might never adjust to is the constant level of noise, the relentless activity, steady undying commotion in high decibels.

I am such a silence loving person that Mumbai literally gets on to my nerves.

Currently I’m sitting in my aunt’s one-bedroom ground floor flat in Andheri (E) trying to get on with my Financial Management Foreign Exchange problems, while a huge, loud Ganesh procession is passing by blocking the traffic, so that all I can concentrate on is the drums, tashe, loudspeaker-ed Marathi songs coupled with the blaring horns of the traffic while the Dollars, Pounds and Yen on my notebook do a well choreographed Tandav Nrutya in front of my eyes.

Yes, it’s a festival of a lot of joy, exuberance and splendour. There’s absolutely no way you can escape the energy. But why-oh-why do we need to turn it into a freaking carnival?

The same was with 'Gokulashtami' a week back. Just outside on the street on the morning of 14th August, I was greeted with a huge road block as I walked back home from my classes. The traffic had been diverted and a huge pillar was being lifted supporting a horizontal rope tied between two tall buildings on which was dangling a small earthen pot i.e. ofcourse the prized Dahi-Handi. I hurried inside expecting the worst and it came… sooner than I had anticipated. 10 minutes later, the loudspeakers started with ‘Dhan Te Nan – Ta na na na…’

20 minutes later – (Song: Singh is King)
It has reached an unbearable pitch, and I can already feel the old migraine kicking up.

12 noon – (Song: My Desi girl.)
I can hear my brain pounding against the walls of my skull, synchronising a nice background beat to go with the music while I wholeheartedly prayed the Desi guys to get on with the Dahi Handi.

By 2 pm – (Song: And we twist)
I’m twisting and turning in bed trying to drift into oblivion with pillow over my head, buried deep inside the blanket.

By 4 pm – My brain is numb, and my ears seem to be revolting. I have two large cotton balls stuffed in them with no use, and I have tears in my eyes. I mean who plays ‘Main talli ho gayi’ on Gokulashtami?

6 pm – Finally the Govinda team arrives to break the handi and claim the prize and I silently begin the countdown. (Song – Govinda aala re aala)

8 pm – Suddenly everything goes quiet. Have I gone deaf?
But no, the handi is down, the team has claimed their prize and the crowd slowly disperses. I have tears in my eyes again… this time of happiness!

I had immensely enjoyed the festival of Gokulashtami before this, but this year was a totally new experience – different and in no ways pleasant. If the Dahi Handi fod was scheduled so late then what inspired the need to play Bollywood songs throughout the day? Who had asked for such atrocious free entertainment? Is it just me who cannot understand the public mortification of our festivals?

But ofcourse with Ganesh Chaturthi coming up, I knew this was just the beginning.

To be contd…


  1. I could/would never get adjusted to Mumbai as a whole..forget about the noise!

  2. Trust me, I'm having a hard time myself... and I constantly miss Goa!

  3. I was waiting for this post......
    True, the noise is too disturbing n a secular India doesnt mean ppl of a particular religion make so much noise tht they get on to d nerves of everybody!
    1st- loud speakers shud b strictly banned, nobody misses thm anway! those who r interested will attend d function, y disturb the others who choose not to come for d festival?
    In Mumbai, everythin is blown out of proportion!
    D worst time to b in Mumbai is durin any of d hindu festivals! I was caught up ther in Diwali some yrs back n after a while of commentin n jokin over d foolish noise makers, even i cudnt fight back my tears!its frustratin coz u jus cant do anythin abt it!
    wished some1 had filed a PIL, public interest litigation on this issue!so much noise is a mental torture!:(

  4. Dont mind you can chant
    गणपती बाप्पा मोरया, पुढल्या वर्षी लवकर जा!

  5. Oh god! not what i meant to say..., i love our festivals, i'm just against the way they are being celebrated here!

  6. hey there is a best solution,,,, b'lore is best place for u!!!!