Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Noise, Noise, off the wall..

An interesting read by Purba.

She is quite right though. We do love our noise. It doesn't even have to be music, but usually we need something that can masquerade as music. I have even heard truck drivers on the highway honk their horns in short bursts of their homemade "melody".

While you do run into pubs and clubs which are too noisy for conversation the same thing is not so common in restaurants. Although, there are restaurants that have very loud music playing, the more classy (read expensive) ones have only subdued, soft music that is a good backdrop to conversation without getting in the way. I know some of these, but I have also been known to ask the management to reduce the volume if I go to the other kind of restaurant. I eat quite often in mall food courts during my India visits anyway.

The thing that drives me up the wall is the incessant hoking! During my recent trip, I had the pleasure(!) of being stuck in many traffic jams (Delhi traffic is off the charts right now!) and people honk for no reason at all. They are all stuck in traffic and everybody is moving as and when they can. But these people would still honk. Seems to me like they are clutching the last dregs of sanity by venting their frustration with their horns. Or they have gone crazy and think that the horn is a video game. I can't decide which!

One thing I thankfully did not run into this trip was a "mata ka jagran" near my house. They play what seems like a fake-bhajans, i.e. songs engineered from latest movie songs with religious words pasted on them. The only "mata" they would remind you of would be Katrina Kaif or Sunny Leone! And volume would be loud enough to rouse the whole neighbourhood, which I think is the idea. It's not limited to any one religion or god though. During Ramzan you can hear the azaan and the call to "sehri" just as loudly.

But coming back to music, it can sometimes be a real nuisance. During one of my India visits I had a young boy in a shop opposite my parental house who liked the song "Main tera boyfriend, tu meri girlfriend, tu mainu kehndi na na na na" a little too much. He put it in a loop and played it at top volume morning, noon, evening, non-stop. Normally, I am a "live and let live" kind of guy but that did get my proverbial goat. Finally, I went there and told him "Dude, change the song or reduce the volume! Or else!" It worked for a while!

You would find the same 5-6 songs playing all over the place - on the radio, in weddings, parties, discos and on TV channels. But new songs have a burnout time of about a month. They get phased out by other equally meaningless, blase songs in due course. Only the most obnoxious, loud and obscene ones would be remembered past 3 months, example Sheila ki jawani and Munni ki badnami.

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