Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why you need ear plugs to come to India.

Or ‘Christ mate it’s about as peaceful as a dance party at Gallipoli here’.

It is fair to say that New Zealand, for better and for worse, is one of the quietest countries you could ever live in. Edging it down the pecking order in this regard perhaps are places like rural Mongolia and Antarctica (on a still day). But, of the better frequented and more familiar territories one might come across NZ is right up there in the silence stakes. In the same way this is no surprise to anyone it should come as no shock to discover that India is securely fastened to the opposite end of the spectrum. But what does this mean in practice?

Maybe I’ve become more attuned in the relative quiet of leafy Gokulam, surely the Acacia Avenue of India, but the sound of the neighbour sweeping/rotavating the front yard with a broom made from what must be high tensile steel wire while playing a recorded loop of Buddhist sounding chanting at 430am is a fairly good example of the noise levels attainable, even in the small hours and with minimal, relatively primitive, equipment. The ante is normally upped around 5am when, for some unknown, unseen but precisely timed reason their guard dog goes bonkers and barks its little Indian head off. For about 11 minutes. If you slept through the ‘sweeping’ and chanting (oh, and flobbing, otherwise known as hawking, gobbing or spitting huge amounts of phlegm out) then the barking definitely ensures you get to peel yourself a new retina for the day. Around 530am, with the sun coming up, the first traffic might buzz by – hooting helpfully as the nearest corner is approached to avoid any possibility of collision – and this will continue throughout the day. Awesome. No danger of oversleeping. Ta.

And this is in a super quiet part of a super quiet neighbourhood. Having said that it is still a lot quieter than where I used to live in London. And I do have it pretty easy really. Other people have almost continuous domestic incidents running next door to them, or live on a seemingly quiet but apparently vital intersection via which a large proportion of the city’s scooters have to pass each day necessitating a logarithmic increase in hooting frequency and thus volume.

I seem stuck in sarcastic mode at the moment don’t I?

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