A humourous account of noise pollution in India.
|Do you know that an average human being can suffer from permanent hearing loss if he is exposed for more than a few hours to noise of about 85dB? To put it in simple terms, a bulldozer that is idling (note that this is idling, not actively bulldozing) is loud enough at 85 dB to cause permanent damage after only 1 workday (8 hours). But... I strongly believe that whoever studied this and came up with a chart on acceptable and unacceptable sound levels, has ignored the entire gamut of the characteristic Indian population...because...an average Indian's noise tolerance limit is much higher that just 85dB!
When I eagerly walk into that wedding hall in Adayar expecting to meet my college friends, I am first greeted by the deafening sound of the 'music band', and a while later, I find myself screaming at my friends' faces in a desperate attempt to be heard over that blaring music.
I board the Charminar express that starts from Hyderabad, and throughout the entire journey of about 13 hours to my home in Madras, I get to listen to a middle aged couple 'loudly' washing their dirty laundry in public. By the end of the journey, I know whose daughter has eloped with whom, and who has recently purchased that latest model car!
My worst nightmares, are during certain festive seasons, when loud devotional music is played at every street corner all through the night.... and I end up waking the next morning with puffy eyes, and a sprain in the neck because I have been trying to sleep in an awkward position with 3 pillows covering my ears :)... and needless to say, I believe I have lost my ability to hear clearly because of my continuous exposure to noise due to blaring sound horns on the road!!
Although I am an Indian myself living in India, I cant help wonder why do my fellow citizens insist on being so loud! No matter how many regulatory acts, like The Aircrafts Act 1934, The Motor Vehicles Act 1988, The Noise Regulation Rules 2000 and a set of Articles of the Constitution are enforced by the law, we Indians always find a way to tackle it. The use of a loudspeaker, or setting of firecrackers, has assumed the status of a fundamental right!
Given all that, India still remains a very friendly country to live in. So what if there is loud music? At least I have my freedom of expression!! So... knowing that nothing much can be done about my fellow citizen's love for loud noise, I mold myself to be more tolerant towards it. After all, all this noise means - vibrant life!!