Sounds of the town

BANGALORE: Bangaloreans, who used to wake up to the All India Radio’s signature tune and Vande Mataram on Akasha Vani, are now jolted from sleep by the same tune but emanating from the reverse

Published: 09th January 2012 10:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:11 PM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: Bangaloreans, who used to wake up to the All India Radio’s signature tune and Vande Mataram on Akasha Vani, are now jolted from sleep by the same tune but emanating from the reverse alarm of their neighbour’s car. The crow makes its first caw and the sparrows take off from their nest in the window sill with a whir. A host of sounds once familiar to the city’s residents have either disappeared or have been drowned out by other noises.

While the whistle of the milk cooker conjured up images and aroma of steaming, strong filter coffee, goading the late riser out of bed, the rumbling sound of grandma’s grinding stone pulverising the coconut chutney and the hiss of the dosa batter as it lands on the hot, black cast iron tava, sets the taste buds tingling. From the shower, the blow pipe makes a whistling sound as the head of the house lights up the furnace to heat the bath water. The vegetable vendors try to out-shout each other on the streets and the clapping sound of the servant maid beating the clothes on the washing stone fills the air.

The early morning Caravels, Boeing 737s and Avros roar as they take off and drown out the noise of the neighbour’s Jawa motorcycle as he heads for work. As the day meanders along, the pace of life slows down and this seems to reflect in everything around. The lazy drone of the Dakota flying high above the unhurried clouds is interrupted by the bicycle bell of the postman. The call of the hawker on the street becomes unintelligible as he is apparently too drowsy to pronounce all syllables of his wares.

The grandpa’s pedestal fan hums as he retires for his afternoon siesta while the humming bird in the garden chirps as it flits from one hibiscus flower to the other and the squirrel cries incessantly from the guava tree, agitated about something.

By late afternoon, the children are back from school and are welcomed by the barks of the pet mongrel. Soon, they are out on the streets with their bats and balls, arguing loudly about a sixer and a boundary. Suddenly, there is utter silence as the sound of the ball crashing into the window pane rents the air. The game is abandoned for the day.

By nightfall, the tick tock of the old wall clock which was hitherto inaudible, grows louder and is interrupted by the hourly chimes that go off at different times in each house in the neighbourhood. The street dog howls as the gorkha announces his arrival with his whistle and tap of his stick and the screech owl’s cry pierces the air. Children snuggle under the blankets with books in their hands with the swish of the ceiling fan slowly lulling them to sleep.

vijaysimha@newindianexpress.com

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