12.22.2011

Out loud

The day that I arrived in California I stood on my parents' driveway and exclaimed to my mom "It is SO quiet." I listened, listened for anything and for what felt like an eternity, heard nothing. In a neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, I heard NOTHING. It was maybe the first bit of culture shock I experienced on my visit home. In India life seems to exist out loud. As an exercise to testify to this here is a list of the distinguishable sounds I currently hear: -Monkeys jumping across rooftops (and making monkey noises) -Children's happy laughter -Kites fluttering in the wind -Car horns -Singing -A call to prayer projected in the distance -Motorcycle motors revving - Whistles -A plastic bathing cup being clanked against its bucket -The footsteps of a person who drags their feet -Dogs barking -A pressure cooker releasing steam in the kitchen -So many voices that they all meld together and just sound like LIVING. I have heard it said  before that in this great sub-continent, every aspect of life occurs right out in the open. It is something I have really come to relish about living here. It might be something that honestly overwhelms people at first. Put all of the above sounds together and at first it just sounds like noise. A whole lot of noise. As you absorb yourself into it a bit more though, you would find that just about every noise has a purpose and a place.  As I walk down the busy bazaar with my sister I am reminded of that. I hear an approaching vehicle, a communicative honk, and I instinctively move away from the sound. But there are so many other stimulations that my sister can't yet distinguish the patterns in the noise. So I am doing my best to help her out (because I definitely don't want her to get squished by an eleven year old driving a scooter.) I try to remember my first visit here, I certainly didn't understand or appreciate all of the horns, the singing, the voices, the sounds of cooking and I definitely didn't appreciate that if you put it all together it has such a positive, happy ring to it. Like putting the right notes together on an instrument, the sounds of life here meld together in beautiful harmony. 

7 comments:

  1. Yes, please don't let her get squished. :-)

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  2. That sounds beautiful. I have to admit I enjoy the quite of the wilderness where I live. Forest sounds are my favorite. It's also like a symphony, just on a very tiny woodland creature scale :)

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  3. So amazing. I love reading your posts :) this one was beautiful!

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  4. Beautifully written Kristin, with such amazing perspective. Thanks for keeping your sister safe!

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  5. Kristin, this is one of your best yet. Your talent as a writer continues to grow and it is a pleasure to watch it happen, albeit from afar!

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  6. The noise you describe makes me ears ring - it would be so overwhelming to me. Right now as I type, the person sitting next to me is wearing a wrist watch and the tv is playing in another room - and both noises are starting to rub me the wrong way. Wonder if anyone born in India has those issues? Living among the noise perhaps they never experience the quiet and so they are never overwhelmed by sounds.

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