Suffering in silence

Suffering in silence

Rising concern

Suffering in silence

As it is said, that to be able to hear, one must be silent. And in rapidly growing Bengaluru, which aims to enter the league of world-class cities, silence is one of the first casualties.

From honking cars and racing bikes to drilling machines and loud music, we seem to be in a relentless contest to try and outdo the other person in terms of creating a din. To be fair, some of us can’t help it. Imagine trying to dig a road without all the accompanying racket. This is such an essential part of the process that less noise will probably make the contractors feel that they are not doing their job properly.

But then there are others, who are perfectly agreeable to becoming a public nuisance as long as it gets them some attention.

Says Reghunath M, “I live with my family in Bhoopsandra and there is a wide, tarred stretch of road in front of our house. This is a favourite haunt of young bikers during the weekends. Invariably, their fancy bikes will be missing silencers and the roaring of the machines as they pass by is enough to give anyone a heart attack. This continues well into the wee hours of the morning. My elderly in-laws cut short their visit by a week because they couldn’t handle this sound.”

This problem is seen in many other areas in the city now. Young daredevils choose well-maintained stretches (or even busy potholed roads if they think they will have better viewership) to show off their stunts and this becomes a headache for the people living in and around that area. But bikes are not the only culprits.

Says John Jose, a professional, “The traffic of Bengaluru is a huge problem indeed. But what makes it worse is the incessant honking of vehicles stuck in a jam. I face this situation twice daily while commuting to and from office during peak hours. All those drivers can see that the light is red or that the vehicle in front is starting to move. How will blowing their horns help? It only makes people more irritated.”

Vehicular sound pollution has been a facet of city life for long, though it has reached alarming proportions in recent years. It is helped in its efforts by loudspeakers and band sets that people use with impunity during festivals.

Says Rahul Sankar, a professional who lives in Indiranagar, “There are quite a few temples in the area near my house and they observe many special days or functions. There are times when people start playing loud devotional music after 11 in the night or even later, just when the residents are planning to sleep. And then they take out processions with drumbeats and cymbals. There are many old people and young children in the surrounding apartments who get seriously disturbed with all this commotion. It is so annoying but nobody will dare complain.”

The real estate sector is another contributor. “Houses are mushrooming all over the city. Buildings are being squeezed into even the smallest possible spaces. In fact, I have seen people pulling down houses and constructing many dingy, one or two-roomed sets in that place in order to get more rent. All this translates to a never-ending din of construction work and one is left longing for a bit of peace,” says John.

There is a dearth of understanding on the importance of silence in our frenzied lives, says Shalini Lakra, a professional. She says, “Being quiet is equated with being dull or stuck up and having fun has become synonymous with creating noise. Get-togethers these days are all about loud music and even louder talking. There is no effort to have a quiet conversation or even spend a few moments in solitude.”

Seems like we are not the silent sufferers anymore. Rather it is our silence that is suffering.

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